TTT: Favourite Book Blogs/Bookish Sites

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.This weeks topic is your favourite book blogs/bookish sites. There are so many fantastic blogs/sites out there and it’s great to share the love. Let’s get started.

 

Bookish Sites:
  • Fantasy Faction – this is a great site for any fantasy lover and a bit of shameless self promotion since I’m a contributor for the site.
  • Goodreads – an obvious one really but it’s a great site for any book lover.
  • Netgalley – this site is such a good resource for any book blogger.

 

Favourite book blogs: All of these blogs are fantastic and I highly recommend checking them out.

 

That’s it for today. All of the blogs/sites mentioned are fantastic. I’d love to know some of your favourite bookish blogs or sites. It’s always good to find new ones to follow. It’s great to share the bookish love. 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

 

 

Thoughts on some DNF books

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. I thought I would do something a little bit different with the review post today. Since there are a few books that I haven’t finished I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on them and why I decided to stop reading them. Obviously I can’t fully review these books because I haven’t finished them but I thought it might be interesting for you guys to know why I didn’t finish these books. Let me know if this is a bad idea though. Let’s get started.

 

Red Knight / Miles Cameron
The main issue I had with this one was probably the writing, although the large cast of characters was also an issue for me. I found the writing and the plot to be convoluted and confusing, which meant that I didn’t become invested in the story or the characters.  The numerous characters meant that I didn’t really care about any of them, because of the frequent changes in perspective. This also resulted in a lack of character development, although maybe that happens later in the book and/or series. For those reasons this one didn’t work for me and I ended up DNFing it around 300 pages in.

 

The Magicians / Lev Grossman
Basically I really didn’t like Quentin and I couldn’t force myself to continue reading about him. A lot of the time he’s whining or just being a complete… insert whatever bad word here. The pacing was also a little uneven and I didn’t find the plot particularly compelling. The misogyny in this book is also an issue for me and I hated how Quentin treated women. As you can probably tell this one just really didn’t work for me so I stopped reading it. I don’t think I’ll ever attempt to finish this book.

 

The Way of Shadows / Brent Weeks
This is one that I may come back to at some point, as I didn’t really have any issues with it. I just wasn’t invested in the story or the characters while I was reading and so I decided to stop reading it. Although I did think that the characters were a little lacking in depth and development, but then I didn’t finish the book so it may have missed it. It does start out quite slow which probably didn’t help me become invested in the story. What I read of the plot seemed quite good but I didn’t find it very compelling. So this either wasn’t for me or it just wasn’t the right time for me to pick it up. As I’ve said I may try out this series again as I’ve heard some good things about it, but there are so many other books I want to read this may never happen.

 

Seeds of Earth / Michael Cobley
Again I may come back to this one at some point, but at this point I doubt it. This is a bit of a tricky one as I really liked the concept but I think in practice it didn’t quite work. I think somehow it didn’t all gel together, if that makes sense. The plot is convoluted and confusing a lot of the time (at least it was for me) and it was hard to keep track of what was going on. I kind of felt that this book needed more structure to it – there was too many threads of the story and seemingly no link to bind them together. Maybe that gets better later in the book though. The characters are alright but lacking in depth and there are too many of them. I have to admit to skim reading some of this before finally giving up on it. Thinking back on it now, I don’t think I’ll try reading this again.

 

Let me know if this type of review is a good or bad idea. I just thought you guys might be interested in know why I stopped reading these books. Have you guys read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 Reasons to read Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s Friday which means its time for another review. This is another review in the form of five reasons to read a certain book. I quite like doing this kind of review sometimes as it can be a good way to organise my thoughts. Let’s get started.

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  1. If you are a fan of fairy tale retellings, specifically the Beauty and the Beast, then you will probably really enjoy this book. Even if you just enjoy books with a fairy tale feel then I would recommend checking this book out.
  2. As with all Juliet Marillier’s books, the writing is fantastic and so easy to get into. You’ll soon become immersed in the story and the world of this book, although the writing is perhaps a little wordy at times.
  3. The world is definitely one of my favourite things about this book. It is such a fascinating and intriguing world. There’s something about an ominous forest that always interests me, although in real life I’d probably run in the opposite direction :).
  4. The plot is compelling throughout and I found that once I started reading I didn’t want to stop. The only thing I will say is it is a little predictable but I still really enjoyed seeing it all unfold.
  5. The characters are all well written – they are complex and flawed in their own ways. The surrounding cast are just as great as the main characters.

 

Now I’m not one to seek out fairy tale retellings to read but I did really enjoy this one and would highly recommend it to any fairy tale lover. Juliet Marillier is definitely a new favourite author of mine. 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

 

 

Mini Series Reviews

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some mini reviews of two series. One is an urban fantasy series and the other is a middle grade/young adult fantasy trilogy. To be honest I wasn’t sure what to review today, so I thought I’d review some series that I’ve read. Anyway let’s just get started.

 

The Others series / Anne Bishop / ★★★.5
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.  Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

 

This isn’t the type of book that I usually go for, but this series is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I’m not normally a huge fan of books with werewolves, vampires etc and I tend to avoid them. This series is an exception. There’s something about the characters and their relationship that I really enjoyed reading about. I feel like they definitely could do with more depth and development through the five books, but you still become invested in them or at least I did. I thought that the plot was pretty compelling throughout, as well being quite different to what I usually pick up. Having said that it can be a bit of a slow burn. It’s not a full on, action packed urban fantasy, so if that’s what you’re looking for then this isn’t it. However if you’re looking for a more world and character based urban fantasy then you may want to check this out. I think the world is quite vividly drawn, as well as being one you want to know more about. The writing is easy to get into and I found the books to be quite addictive. Overall I think this is a great series, although a little slow at times and perhaps lacking a bit in character depth. I would still recommend checking it out, especially if you are a fan of urban fantasy. Trigger warning for self harm. Side note, I really dislike these covers.

 

 

Inkworld trilogy / Cornelia Funke / ★★★
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service. Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story. This “story within a story” will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.

 

This is originally written in German. Firstly I love the concept of this trilogy – that some people can read characters to life. I think that’s quite a interesting idea and I really enjoyed the story. I will say that although I think it can be enjoyed by a variety of ages, I think it is most suited to it’s younger target audience. The characters are all well written, although I wasn’t the biggest fan of some of the character progression (particularly Meggie), but generally the characters are great. The plot is unlike anything I’ve come across. I will say that although I did enjoy this trilogy overall I did think that the first book was the strongest and that it got progressively weaker. It is still a good story though. I think the writing is great in this trilogy and it really immerses you in this world. There are some good plot twists throughout the trilogy too. I haven’t read anything else by this author but I can see why she is a popular writer of children’s fiction. Overall this is a good trilogy, although I personally felt that the books got progressively weaker. I would recommend this if you are a big fan of the author or enjoy a lot of middle grade/young adult.

 

That is all I have for you guys today. Have you read either of these series? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

 

The Tiger’s Daughter / K. Arsenault Rivera

Title / The Tiger’s Daughter
Author / K. Arsenault Rivera
Publication Date / 2017
Page no. / 512
Series or standalone / Their Bright Ascendancy book 1
Overall Star Rating / 

29760778

Goodreads synopsis: The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests. Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons. This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

 

This was one of my most anticipated books of this year and I’m sad to say I was disappointed by it. Firstly I think it is fantastic that this is a lesbian romance as it’s something that I haven’t seen a lot of in the fantasy genre, especially with the main characters. However for me I found this too romance heavy. When it becomes the driving force behind the plot, I’m just not that interested. I swear every few pages one of the main characters was expressing her love for the other and I just couldn’t – we get it, please stop. As you can probably tell I found that kind of annoying. The plot had so much potential but I felt that it was a little overshadowed by the romance, which really didn’t work for me.  The fact that I didn’t really care about the characters didn’t help with the romance. To me the two main characters were kind of unlikealbe and I just didn’t care about them. I found that the characters were underdeveloped and flat, which hindered my ability to connect with any of them. The main issue I had with this though is the narrative style. The majority of the story is told through a letter from one of the main characters to the other. First off it’s very clearly a way to info dump as Shefali (main character) is writing to Shizuka (other main character) about things they both witnessed. Why would you write a letter to tell someone about something they experienced? It just doesn’t make any sense to me, unless it’s just there to info dump. I think it would also take the record for longest letter ever – it seemed like it was never going to end. It dragged quite a lot and at times I didn’t really know what was going on. The writing itself is good but again something about it didn’t work for me. I think at times it was quite drawn out – the slow pacing doesn’t help with this either. Consequently I struggled to get invested in this book.  Apart from the narrative style, it was also the plot that let it down. It felt kind of aimless to me and so drawn out, especially the first half the book. The plot did improve in the second half but by then I didn’t particularly care. The premise made it seem like it was going to be action packed with maybe a bit of politics but instead we basically get a very long love letter. That is not what I signed up for. In terms of world building and magic system, I can’t really tell you much as it was pretty vague. These are mostly just personal preference though. One thing I feel I should mention is the appropriation of Japanese, Chinese and Mongolian cultures. I think it’s important to be aware of these things when reading books. For more information about this, please read this review by a Japanese woman who can speak on these issues with authority.

 

Overall this one just really didn’t work for me. It definitely had a lot of potential but personally I felt a little disappointed by it. To me this felt more of an epic romance than epic fantasy. I seem to be in the minority on this one though as I’ve seen a lot of great reviews on Goodreads. Have you read this book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

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