October Wrap Up and November TBR

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. It’s time to talk about all the books I read in October… When I say all, I actually only mean 3 books. I had a bit of a slow reading month but I’m pretty pleased that I managed to read some books.

 

The Loving Cup / Winston Graham / ★★★
This was another good book in this series, but it did fall a little flat for me. Maybe because it’s been a while since I read the last book, so it took me a little while to work what was going on again. It was still good though and I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

 

1984 / George Orwell / ★★★.5
I think this is quite a hard one to rate. I thought that the writing was great and the flow of it made it quite easy to become absorbed. The world building was fantastic; you really feel the oppressive nature of this world. It is also definitely a thought provoking book, although perhaps a little dated now. It did drag a little bit at times but it didn’t really affect my reading experience.  I’ve been meaning to read this for ages now, so I’m glad that I’ve finally gotten around to reading it. Overall I thought this was a great book and I would recommend reading it.

 

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Time of Dread / John Gwynne / ★★★.5
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I’ve been aware of this author’s other series for a while, so when I saw he was coming out with a new series I thought I’d give it a go. I thought this was a great introduction to this trilogy, although it did take me a little while to get into (mainly due to my reading slump). I think one of the main strengths of this book were the range of characters; all of which were well written and engaging. This is a book with multiple perspectives, so if that’s not your thing than it’s probably something to be aware of going in, but I thought it was done well. Each perspective was distinctive and compelling. Overall I thought this was great. I will have a full review up closer to the release date (January 11th).

 

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Shadowblack / Sebastien de Castell / ★★★★
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I thought this was a great continuation of this series. I find this series is so enjoyable and fun to read. Although it did take me a little while to get into (due to the reading slump), I thought the plot was compelling and it was great to be back with these characters. I especially enjoy the character of Reichis. If you’re looking for a new entertaining fantasy series to read, I definitely recommend checking these books out. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

 

Mistress of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / ★★★★
This was a fantastic ending to this trilogy. I was in a bit of a reading slump when I started reading this but after around 100 pages I was hooked. It was so good to be back with these characters and in this world. I think Mara is such a great female protagonist and is one of my favourite things about this trilogy. I also really enjoyed the scope of it – throughout the trilogy we see years of the characters lives and so we really see them grow. The writing is good, the plot is compelling and the characters are so well written. Overall I think this was a fantastic trilogy and I highly recommend checking it out.
I am currently reading The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, so I will definitely be finishing that soon. In November I would also love to read Monstress: Vol 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. Other books I want to get to include The Power by Naomi Alderman, Good People by Hannah Kent and The Makioka Sisters by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. I think I’m coming out of my reading slump so I hope to read more next month. What was your favourite book you read this month? Mine was definitely Mistress of the Empire. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

September Wrap Up and October TBR

Hi guys it’s time to wrap up another month of reading. I thought I hadn’t read much this month but it turns out I still managed to read 5 books so I’m pretty happy with that. At one point I thought it was only going to be two books. Anyway I’ve read some great books this month – none of the books are rated under 3 stars. I’ve just not had a huge amount of motivation to read so I’m super happy with the 5 books I’ve read. Let’s get started with my mini reviews.

 

Queen of Fire / Raven Shadow trilogy – book 3 / Anthony Ryan / 
This was a good conclusion to this trilogy, but I have to admit that the second and third book were a little disappointing when compared with the first book. This one was definitely an improvement from the second book though. Although overall I thought this was a compelling read, there were definitely times it dragged. I think the trilogy as a whole could probably have been shortened a bit. It was great to be back with these characters though. Overall I enjoyed this trilogy but for me the first book was the strongest. I can’t say for sure why the other books weren’t quite as compelling. I would still recommend checking these books out.

 

 

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Spellslinger / Spellslinger series – book 1 / Sebastien de Castell / ★.5
I thought this was a great introduction to this series. I definitely didn’t love it quite as much as the first book in his other series but it was still really good. The world of this book is an interesting and it’s well thought out too, as is the magic system. It’s also quite funny at times. The characters are fleshed out, the plot is compelling and the writing is easy to get into. I will definitely be checking out the second book in this series.

 

Blood of Dragons / Robin Hobb / 
It’s a Robin Hobb book so of course this was great. I thought this was such a good conclusion to this series and I think that each character thread was really well done. I was completely invested in the characters and we get to learn even more about the world too. Basically these are fantastic books and I highly recommend checking them out. I would say that this is probably the weakest of the Realm of the Elderling series so far but it is still great.

 

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Artemis / Andy Weir / 
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
While I enjoyed Weir’s other book, I definitely didn’t love it quite as much as everyone else seemed to so I was interested to see he was releasing a new book. I thought this was such a great read.  This book is set to be released November 14th and I will have more to say closer to that release date.

 

Tess of the D’Ubervilles / Thomas Hardy / 
This was my classic pick of the month and it was pretty heartbreaking. As with the two other Hardy books I’ve read this was very well written and does a great job of transporting you into the landscape. It is also quite interesting as it really showcases the place women had in society at that time and the rigid morals applied to them. In that sense it is quite a frustrating read because we can’t understand why Tess does certain things but it was a very different time back then. It is a pretty depressing story, which will definitely not be to everyone’s tastes. This isn’t really a book you enjoy as it is a tragic tale but I think it is worth a read nonetheless.

 

I am also almost finished with The Loving Cup by Winston Graham, which is the 10th book in the Poldark series. In terms of my October TBR I’ve set myself a few books that I hope to get to. My classic pick for October is 1984 by George Orwell but I would also quite like to get to The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. The other books I would like to get to are Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts, The Power by Naomi Alderman, the Good People by Hannah Kent, Sovereign by C. J. Sansom and maybe The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. I probably won’t get to all of those but I’m hoping it will happen anyway :). What was your favourite book this month? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

August Wrap Up and September TBR

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Pippa

 

 

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

 

 

June Wrap Up and July TBR

Hi guys, it’s the end of another month which means it’s time for another monthly wrap up. I had a pretty good reading month. I managed to read 9 books – 4 of which are 4 star ratings. Although I did have a few mixed feelings about some books too. Unsurprisingly I read mostly fantasy, but I kind of wanting to read more books from other genres. Anyway let’s get started.

 

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Borne / Jeff Vandermeer / ★★.5
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. I really enjoyed the Southern Reach trilogy by the same author so I was immediately interested in the new book. While the concept is an interesting one and Vandermeer is a talented writer, I just didn’t love this book. I think the main issue I had with this was the pacing. It has quite a slow start and quite a fast ending. It also lacks a substantial plot – alot of the is just a meandering wander into the life of the main character. The world is an interesting one, although it is also pretty weird. To be honest I didn’t really care about any of the characters. This one just didn’t work for me, but still worth checking out if you’re interested in it.

 

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Godblind / Anna Stephens / ★★★
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This one was quite mixed for me. To be completely honest it was probably more of a 2.5 star rating. I wanted to like it more than I actually ended up liking it. The two main issue I had was the lack of character depth and the number of perspectives. Firstly, for me the characters fell a little flat – they didn’t seem well rounded and so I wanted more development from them. Perhaps because there are so many characters, the author sacrificed some character depth/development. The second issue is that in my opinion there are too many character perspectives, which makes it hard to keep track of them all. Off the top of my head there are 10 character perspectives and in my opinion that is too many.  This probably contributed to the fact it took me a while to get into this book. I will say I think the book does pick up after the first quarter of the book. The romance elements were entirely predictable (especially in one place) and kind of unnecessary. I felt like it was just there as a bit of a relief from some of the brutality and I didn’t feel like the characters actually connected. The plot was alright, if a little predictable at times. I will say that I thought the world building was quite good and the second half does get a bit better. One last thing to mention is the brutality of this book – it is not for the faint hearted or squeamish. I am currently unsure whether I will continue on with this series, but don’t let this review put you off – there are alot of good reviews of it.

 

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Ashes of London / Andrew Taylor / ★★★
This one had been compared to C. J. Sansom’s Shardlake series, so I was immediately interested in it. Overall this was an enjoyable read but it wasn’t much more than that. The characters lacked depth, the mystery wasn’t very well thought out (in my opinion) and sections dragged a little – the writing itself was quite good though. I will say it was quite a compelling read and I read it pretty quickly. Other than that I don’t really have a lot to say about this one – it was good but not great.

 

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Dreamer’s Pool / Juliet Marillier / ★★★
To be completely honest I was a little disappointed with this one. I have loved the first two books in the Sevenwaters trilogy and Heart’s Blood so I expected to love this too. Unfortunately I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy it, just not as much. The writing is great but where it fell for me was the characters and the plot. I quite liked Blackthorn and Grim, however I couldn’t handle the angst of the two main younger characters and their romance. I also don’t understand why the fey had to get involved. In terms of enjoyment this would probably be a two star rating but I’m adding a star for Marillier’s writing. I’m not in a hurry to continue with this series and I don’t know if I’ll bother anyway.

 

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Age of Swords / Michael J. Sullivan / ★★★.5
This is the second book in the Legends of the First Empire series and it didn’t disappoint. I thought this was a great continuation of this series. The character development is really well done, although I was pretty heartbroken about what happens to a certain character. I’m still not quite over it. I liked that the tone of these books are quite light – it’s not all sunshine and rainbows but the overall tone of these books aren’t dark. The amusing interactions with some characters really lend itself to this lighter tone. The plot moves pretty quickly and the action is done pretty well. I love the setting of these books too. Basically I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely be continuing with this series and I would highly recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoy fantasy.

 

The Shadow of What Was Lost / James Islington / ★★★.5
This is the first book in the Licanius trilogy and is his debut book. I thought this was a solid introduction to this new trilogy. The world building is done well, the plot is engaging and the writing is good. I found the world to be an interesting one, although I would have like more detail about it at times. For example a portion of this book is the characters travelling but there was no indication of distance, if that makes any sense – the map does help a little with this. I also just wanted to know more about the terrain, cultures etc. The characters are all pretty well written, if a little cliched at times. I will say I wanted more direction (and depth) from the characters though – a few times in the book the characters are just told to do something and I wanted to know what they wanted to do/what they felt is important. There were a few times that I felt things happening in the plot were a little too convenient too.  The book as a whole is pretty traditional in terms of the fantasy genre, so if you’re looking for a book that is doing something different then this is not the book for you. Overall a solid first book in a series and I will be checking out the second book.

 

 

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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld / Patricia A. McKillip / ★★★★
* I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I’m always looking to try new fantasy books and when I saw this on Netgalley I requested it. I am so glad I did – this was fantastic and quite unique. The writing is great and I was so hooked that I read this in one day. The plot is fantastic. It’s not a particularly action packed fantasy so if that’s what you’re looking for than this isn’t for you, but if you like fantasy books with an immersive world, interesting characters and great writing than I highly recommend checking this out. I’m glad I stumbled upon it on Netgalley.

 

 

Dark Fire / C. J. Sansom / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Shardlake series. I think I enjoyed this even more than the first one. The characters are fantastic, the plot is compelling and the writing is great. I find these books so easy to get into. The mystery elements are so well done and the tension builds throughout the book. It was a fantastic continuation of this series and I am so excited to continue on with it. I highly recommend this series, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction.

 

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Daughter of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / ★★★★
I picked this up on a bit of a whim as I was looking for some Asian inspired fantasy and this is set in a Japanese inspired world. I am very glad I did. I thought this was a fantastic start trilogy. It started out really strong and I was hooked from pretty early on. I have to say I wanted more of the world – more depth and history. It is an interesting world but I felt that it was a little lacking. The characters were fantastic and well written. I look forward to see how they will develop in the next books. I will say this is heavily centred around politics/intrigue so if that is not your thing then I wouldn’t recommend this. Personally I really enjoyed that element of this book. It is definitely not an action packed fantasy book but I didn’t mind that. I will definitely be checking out the rest of this trilogy. Full review coming soon.

 

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The Queen of Blood / Sarah Beth Durst / ★★★★
I’ve had my eye on this book for a while and have been debating whether to pick it up. I finally decided to get it as some holiday reading and I am very glad I did. The setting of this is a really interesting one – it’s set in a world with elemental spirits that are controlled by the Queen of Renthia and that everything is built on giant tree branches. This was definitely one of my favourite things about this book, as the world building is done pretty well. The characters are also well written and I found it so easy to get into this book. I was hooked from quite early on. It was such a compelling read set in a fantastic world with amazing characters. I highly recommend this, especially if you are a fan of fantasy. Full review coming soon

 

In terms of my TBR for July I would quite like to read some more fiction books that aren’t fantasy or sci-fi. You guys know by now that is primarily what I read so I want to branch out a bit, so that’s what I’m hoping to do in July. My classic pick of the month is going to be the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I would also love to get to A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and Accusation by Bandi. You can see a few other books I want to get to in the picture below but I probably won’t get to all of them. I will most likely read some fantasy as well – I was recently granted digital copies of The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera and The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark and I am very excited to get to both. Other than that, I’m just going to read what I want to at the time.

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I’m finally on track with my goodreads goal, which I am pretty happy with. Let’s hope I can now keep it up :). I have to say I’m looking forward to branching out a bit more and hopefully having a more varied reading month in July, unless I get distracted by fantasy books. What was your favourite book you read in June? Mine is probably The Queen of Blood or Daughter of the Empire… or Dark Fire. I read quite a few good books this month :). I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

May Wrap Up and June TBR

Hi guys, it’s time for another wrap up. I actually had a pretty good reading month. I read a total of 11 books – 6 of which were 4 star reads, so I am quite happy with that. I was definitely in more of a reading mood this month and there was some fantastic fantasy books. Let’s get started.

 

The Cossacks and Hadji Murat / Leo Tolstoy / ★★★
To be completely honest I wasn’t blown away by either of these stories. Having said that Tolstoy’s writing is fantastic and the characters are all complex. I just didn’t love it quite as much as the other books I’ve read from Tolstoy. You can’t deny that Tolstoy is a great writer though.

 

All for Nothing / Walter Kempowski / ★★★
While I did end up liking this, I didn’t love it. The narrative style is a little jarring and so it took me some time to get into it. The characters are well written but I had very little connection with any of them. It is an interesting read as you get a look into the life of a German family during the last years of the war, but although it was interesting I didn’t find it particularly engaging at times. I found it dragged at certain points. Overall I thought this was a good book but I didn’t love it. If you love historical fiction set in this time period, I would definitely recommend checking this out.

 

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Vanguard / Jack Campbell / ★★★
Book 1 of the Genesis Fleet series. It took me a little while to get into this book, but I ended up enjoying it. I thought it was an entertaining read and the plot was mostly engaging. The characters were a little flat at times and I wanted a bit more character development. Having said that, I did still like them. I haven’t read the other series set in the same world, so I don’t know how they relate but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything significant, if that makes sense. Basically you can read this without reading the other series. I think it was lacking a little bit in explanations at times (in terms of the world, technology etc), but generally it’s an interesting world. The action was done well and I enjoyed the battle scenes. Overall I thought this was an enjoyable science fiction book and I am interested to see how things progress.

 

The Goddess Chronicle / Natsuo Kirino / ★★★.5
Although I did think this was a good book, I think the premise worked better in theory than in practice. I loved the idea of this book but something just didn’t quite work for me. The characters were well written, the writing is good and as I’ve already mentioned the premise is great. From what I understand this is a retelling of two deities from Japanese mythology – Izanami and Izanagi. Perhaps if I had prior knowledge I would have enjoyed this more. Having said that, I did still think this book was great and was an interesting look into Japanese mythology.

 

Words of Radiance: Part 1 / Brandon Sanderson / ★★★.5
This is part 1 of the second book in the Stormlight Archives series. I think I would actually rate it somewhere between 3.5 stars and 4 stars. I thought this was a great continuation of this series. It was a little slow to begin with and it took some time to get into it. For me, Kaladin’s perspective was the best and I sometimes struggled a bit with Shallan. Having said that I thought the character development was well done. So far I definitely haven’t loved this series as much as other people but it is still really good. I would recommend this series to any fantasy lover and I’m looking forward to see how things progress in part 2.

 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd / Agatha Christie / ★★★★
This is the third book by Christie that I’ve read and like the two others I really enjoyed this book. I really enjoy Poirot as a character and the mysteries are always fun to read. I definitely had some suspicion about the killer in the book and I was right in the end, but it didn’t take anything away from the enjoyment to seeing it all unfold. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

 

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Heart’s Blood / Juliet Marillier / ★★★★
I didn’t know much going into this so it surprised me to realise this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. I think Marillier’s writing is great and it is so easy to get immersed in the worlds of her books. Having said that I found this one a little slow to start but not necessarily in a bad way. The characters are all well written and they are some really intriguing ones. Overall I thought this was great and I look forward to reading more from this author.

 

The Moon in the Palace / Weina Dai Randel / ★★★★
This is a fantastic historical fiction set in Ancient China – it is loosely set around the only female in Chinese history to rule as an Emperor, Empress Wu. I don’t know alot about Chinese history but I find it fascinating so when I saw this was set in Ancient China I was sold. I thought the writing was great and so easy to get into. I will definitely be checking out the second and final book in this duology, The Empress of Bright Moon. I highly recommend this, especially if you love historical fiction. Full review to come soon.

 

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Knight’s Shadow / Sebastien de Castell / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Greatcoats series and I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed the first book. I find these books so easy to read and they are just so entertaining. If you are looking for a fun, light fantasy read then you should definitely check these books out. I don’t know how long this series is but I am so excited to continue on with these books.

 

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The Legion of Flame / Anthony Ryan / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Draconis Memoria series and it is one of my most anticipated releases of this year. For anyone interested, it is being released in the UK on 6th July in hardback. I thought this was a fantastic continuation of this series. It was great to be back with these characters. Full review to come closer to the release date.

 

Sons of the Shadow / Juliet Marillier / ★★★★
I thought this was a fantastic continuation of this series. I don’t think it was better than the first book but I think it was just as good. Once again the characters were great and the writing is fantastic. I am very excited to continue on with this trilogy. Full review coming soon.

 

I don’t really know what I’m going to be reading in June. I’m actually going away at the start of June for two weeks in Greece, so I don’t know if I’ll be reading much or what to put on my tbr. My classic pick will probably be Sylvia’s Lover by Elizabeth Gaskell or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Other than that I’m just going to read what I want. I am currently reading Hunting the Eagle by Ben Kane and Saint’s Blood by Sebastien de Castell so hopefully I’ll have them finished by the end of the month too, or at least before I go away. What was your favourite book you read in May? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

April Wrap Up and May TBR

Hi guys, it’s time for another monthly wrap up. I had an alright reading month, although I would have preferred to have done more… but I got distracted by Horizon: Zero Dawn, which is awesome by the way. So I’ve been on the PlayStation a bit more this month. I did still manage to read 5 books so I’m pretty happy with that. Anyway let’s get onto the wrap up.

 

Guns of Dawn / Adrian Tchaikovsky / ★★  
I’m sad to say that I was a little disappointed with this one. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you may be aware of my love for 3 other books by this author but this one just didn’t work for me. I don’t really know why. I found it really quite slow, the pacing was abit off and the characters were only alright, in my opinion. The characters were quite cliched and a bit one dimensional. It definitely had potential, but something about it just didn’t quite work for me. I had to really push myself to finish this. Maybe it wasn’t the right time to read it, as I think this is still a good book – it just didn’t work for me. This one really confused me as I thought I was going to really enjoy it.

 

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Crooked Kingdom / Leigh Bardugo / ★★★ 
While I did enjoy this conclusion overall, I didn’t love it. This is a good duology, but part of me was a little disappointed with it as I had heard so many good things. Having said that I did still enjoy it. I liked the ambiguous moral compass of the characters and the plot is generally engaging. There are also quite a few interesting characters within these two books – Inej is definitely a favourite of mine. The world was an interesting, the action is well done and overall I thought the plot progression was good. So I enjoyed this duology, but I think I was hoping for something more.

 

Tower Lord / Anthony Ryan / ★★★ 
This is the second book in the Raven Shadows trilogy. I have to say I was a little disappointed with this one, especially initially, but I found it did get better. I think the main issue I had was the switch of perspectives. In the first book we follow Vaelin as a solo narrative, but in this book we have four points of view throughout. This threw me a little bit, as I expected it to only follow Vaelin. I found that I didn’t fully connect with some of the characters, specifically Reva. I felt that her development was perhaps a little quick, especially in terms of her fighting ability. You know those super smart characters that seem to pick up fighting, whether its swords or archery, in a day or something – she’s a bit like that. Generally the character arcs were pretty well done. Although it took me a little while to get into it, the plot was generally engaging and the writing is easy to get into. I think Ryan is a great fantasy writer. Overall it was good, but I definitely preferred the first book. I am excited to see how things conclude in the next book.

 

Certainty / Madeleine Thien / ★★★.5
You guys may be aware that I read and loved Do Not Say We Have Nothing (also by Thien) at the start of the year, so I was interested to read her debut novel. It definitely hasn’t match my love for her latest book, but it was still a very good book. I think my main issue with this were the changes in perspective. For me it meant a bit of a lack of connection with the characters and it was a little hard to follow at times. It is also told mostly in flashback and I am not the biggest fan of that writing style. The characters are still interesting and I think Thien’s writing is fantastic. Overall this was a good book and I’m excited to try out her other book.

 

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With Blood Upon the Sand / Bradley Beaulieu / ★★★★ 
I have to admit I was both excited and sceptical when I first started this book, as I struggled a bit with the first book, but I thought this was a great continuation. I think because the world is already established it was easier to get into the flow of things. The plot progression was great and I was hooked from early on. The character development was done very well. There are quite a few interesting characters and it was great to be back with them. Another massive strength of this book is the world – it is so intricate and unique. It is definitely one of my favourites at the moment.

 

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The Woman in White / Wilkie Collins / ★★★★ 
I have this on my tbr for a while now and I am so glad I’ve finally read it. I didn’t really know what to expect going into this, but I ended up loving it. It did take me a little while to get into, but as this was a new author to me I kind of expected that. However I was pretty intrigued about the progression of the plot early on – I wasn’t sure how things were going to unfold. This has a fantastic twisting plot, with characters to both root for and despise. It is quite dense and long, so if you are not a fan of Victorian writing and mutilate perspective narrative then this may not be the book for you. Otherwise I would recommend this to everyone. I really enjoyed this book.

 

Since I mostly ignored my TBR for last month, I think I’m not really going to set myself one for this month and just see what happens. Having said that, I obviously want to get to a classic. I’m currently torn between Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell and Germinal by Emile Zola, but there are a few others I can choose from too. Other than that I am just going to pick up what I feel like at the time. What was your favourite book you read in April? I hope you are all having a fantastic day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa