Hi everyone and welcome to today’s book review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor! After reading and enjoying her Strange the Dreamer duology, I decided I wanted to try her Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. I read the first book on holiday last October (isn’t that a far and distant memory now…) and binge-read the rest of the series shortly after!
I wouldn’t describe myself as a YA reader or fan particularly, but I will make all the exceptions for Laini Taylor. Her writing is brilliant, the stories easy to read and the characters have, in my opinion, a lot more depth than most. I find some YA to be a little trope-y and a bit shallow at times, but not with this series (or Strange) at all.
If you haven’t read my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone yet, you can find that post here.
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.
This is not that world.
Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?
I wasn’t sure how Laini Taylor was going to follow up such an epic start to the series, but I should never have doubted her! In fact, Days of Blood and Starlight has one of my favourite introductions. I featured it in a First Lines Friday post back in February this year; if you haven’t read it yet and want a chuckle I think you’ll like it.
The idea of my championing a book/series with such a prevalent plotline around a character relationship may seem strange to you. It’s not the sort of thing I normally go for at all. I talked about this in my review of the first book of the series as well, and everything I said there still applies. The relationship isn’t awkward or uncomfortable to read. It has a maturity to it and consequently, there isn’t any of the sappy stuff that I can’t read without wanting to gag. The dynamic between Karou and Akiva is a longing for companionship. In a world where they are on different sides of a bitter war, they struggle against their respective people for acceptance.
Events in Days of Blood and Starlight draw the reader into a completely new plotline. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, whilst brilliant, is really only the introduction to this explosive series. Karou has only just discovered her place in her world of monsters and in one fell swoop, her life is changed forever. And it’s Akiva’s fault. Shunned and friendless, she has plenty to grieve but steps up to do her part in the war between hers and Akiva’s kind.
The truth about Karou and the world she was being protected from is a harsh reality compared to her relatively normal human life back in Prague. Luckily for us readers (and especially me as a huge fan of world-building), Days of Blood and Starlight explores a whole new alternate world and the history of Chimaera and the Angels. The narrative becomes grittier, takes sinister turns and deadly secrets must be kept in order to fight to survive. Karou herself, whilst trying to earn the trust of her peers, must do her part in a dangerous deception. What has she got to lose?
Hope, love, and her dream for a better life. Everything.
Hey everyone and welcome back to another weekly update post! We’ve had a glorious weekend here and I’ve made the most of it – I’ve even caught the sun a little! Oops!
At the beginning of the week, I shared my reading list for August. It looks a little more ambitious than I have been recently, but it isn’t really. It just so happens that I have a couple of short books to read for blog tours, and the next few books going towards my Beat the Backlist challenge are also shorter. It works out quite nicely as I am looking to get back on track towards my reading goal if I can. If you haven’t checked out that post yet please do – have you read any of the books on my list?
In my First Lines Friday post I set myself the tricky challenge of featuring a non-fiction novel. As a general rule I don’t read many, so I had a limited pool of books to find an interesting opening for. I think I did pretty well and I’m pleased with my book choice!
It’s going to get a cursory mention since I did technically finish it after last week’s post; I read the last 5% of The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell last Sunday night.
As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was around 40% through This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. I said I didn’t think it would take long to finish and I was right. I finished this in a matter of days and I’ve already returned it to the colleague who loaned me their copy! This is probably the best non-fiction book I have read in a long time – I seriously recommend it if you haven’t read it. It’s hilarious, equally sad and really highlights the day to day struggle of being on the frontline in the NHS.
I’ve also read Grubane by Karl Drinkwater in its entirety this week. I finished this whilst sat out in the garden this morning in fact. It’s a sci-fi novel I am reviewing for a blog tour later this month. It’s a really interesting side story in the Lost Solace universe. At around 114 pages it was really easy to read in a couple of sittings!
I have actually added one book to the TBR this week. After reading and returning This is Going to Hurt to my work colleague, he mentioned that he thought the author had also published another Christmas themed book (yes – I just said the “C” word in August). I looked it up and he was right – it’s called Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas.
I know what I might be adding to December’s reading list…
Next week I’m going to attempt to share a book review that I started drafting a couple of weeks ago. I tried on a couple of occasions to put my thoughts down for Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, but I wasn’t happy with it. I love the book and the series so I wanted my review to reflect that… but it didn’t. For whatever reason, I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind at the time. I’m going to start again from scratch and fingers crossed I’m happy with the end result this time!
Later in the week, I am going to be sharing an interview with an author I featured as part of a blog tour. I read and reviewed Justice Gone by Nicholas Lombardi Jr in April 2019 and since then, the book has gone on to win multiple awards – it’s fifth just recently! In my post I’ll be sharing an interview with the author about the book, his inspirations and writing style, just to mention a few topics!
On Friday I’ll be publishing my next Shelf Control post. You might be pleased to know that I am coming to the end of my classics run (finally!) I hope you can join me and we can talk about the next book on my list.
That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update! What have you been reading this week?
It’s Friday, so you know what that means – it’s time for another First Lines Friday post! I hope you have all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend! The weather is looking pretty good for a change, so I might get the chance to sit out in my garden!
In my Sunday Summary post last Sunday I set myself another challenge for this week’s book selection. I also made it pretty difficult for myself, as I chose a genre I don’t pick up very often – non-fiction. It’s fair to say I’ve been inspired to feature it by my recent read of This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay (which is not this week’s featured book, before you start wondering!)
This is a book I have read and featured on my blog previously; can you guess what it is, or who it is by?
These days the origin of the universe is explained by proposing a Big Bang, a single event that instantly brought into being all matter from which everything and everyone are made.
The ancient Greeks had a different idea. They said that it all started not with a bang, but with CHAOS.
Was Chaos a God – a divine being – or simply a state of nothingness? Or was Chaos, just as we would use the word today, a kind of terrible mess, like a teenager’s bedroom only worse?
Think of Chaos perhaps as a kind of grand cosmic yawn. As in a yawning chasm or a yawning void.
Whether Chaos brought life and substance out of nothing or whether Chaos yawned life up or dreamed it up, or conjured it up in some other way I don’t know. I wasn’t there. Nor were you. And yet in a way we were, because all the bits that make us were there. It is enough to say that the Greeks thought it was Chaos who, with a massive heave, or a great shrug, or hiccup, vomit or cough, began the long chain of creation that has ended with pelicans and penicillin and toadstools and toads, sea-lions, seals, lions, human beings and daffodils and murder and art and love and confusion and death and madness and biscuits.
Rediscover the thrills, grandeur, and unabashed fun of the Greek myths—stylishly retold by Stephen Fry. This legendary writer, actor, and comedian breathes new life into beloved tales. From Persephone’s pomegranate seeds to Prometheus’s fire, from devious divine schemes to immortal love affairs, Fry draws out the humor and pathos in each story and reveals its relevance for our own time. Illustrated throughout with classical art inspired by the myths, this gorgeous volume invites you to explore a captivating world, with a brilliant storyteller as your guide.
Having read a historical fiction novel by Stephen Fry previously, I picked up Mythos as an entertaining way to learn more about Greek myths. I have read a few novels now in which the Greek Gods feature, and yet until reading this I had very little knowledge of the tales.
As I am sure is the case with many of you, I was familiar with a couple of stories. Pandora’s box, for example, and Prometheus gifting fire to mankind and his subsequent eternal punishment by Zeus. I didn’t really know much else though, and after the basic story of Persephone was included in the plotline for another novel I had read, I decided I wanted to read more.
I enjoyed Stephen Fry’s retellings as the narrative is full of witticism and laugh-out-loud humour. The narrative is written quite conversationally, so you could imagine the book being narrated and it would feel natural to listen to. It made a subject I knew very little about very approachable, and the maps and diagrams at the beginning were great help with working out who was who and the hierarchy of the Gods.
If you haven’t checked out my full review, you can find it here.
I can’t believe another month has flown by and I’m sharing August’s reading list with you already! It only feels like five minutes since I published the last one.
My reading has been a little on the reserved side for the last few months. Given everything else I’ve had going on I think it’s completely understandable why. I’m still keeping busy with the house and work and all, but this month I want to make a push to clawing back towards this year’s reading goal if I can. As of writing this post I am 10 books behind schedule. Even if I can’t get back on target, I’d like to say I made an effort!
With that in mind, I’m going to try and read a few more, slightly shorter books than my usual this month. Two books are for upcoming blog tours and four more are on the list for my Beat the Backlist challenge. I wouldn’t say deliberately choosing something slightly lighter is cheating. If I dedicated a month to reading short stories out of nowhere, that would be a fair call. We’re still talking books that are mostly three-hundred-and-something pages at least, so they aren’t short to say the least. I just don’t fancy getting bogged down in five hundred page epics this month.
So, would you like to see what’s on August’s reading list?
Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.
Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.
This is actually a carryover from July, although it was a book I picked up pretty spontaneously. Long story short, I’ve just gone back to work and one of my colleagues read the book during lockdown. He says himself that he isn’t that much of a reader but he couldn’t put this one down… and I can see why! It’s brilliant! I read around 40% last month and have been reading more since the beginning of August. Realistically I am going to finish this very, very soon, but since I’ll have read most of it in August and I need to document it somewhere, it’s on this month’s reading list.
Major Grubane is commander of the Aurikaa, the most feared cruiser in the UFS arsenal.
His crew is handpicked and fiercely loyal. Together, they have never failed a mission, and their reputation precedes them.
But this time he’s been sent to a key planet that is caught up in political tensions at the centre of the freedom debate. What he thought was a simple diplomatic mission turns out to be the hardest choice of his career. His orders: eliminate one million inhabitants of the planet, and ensure their compliance.
Grubane has also rediscovered an ancient game called chess, and plays it against the ship AI as a form of mental training. But maybe it could be more than that as he finds himself asking questions. Can orders be reinterpreted? How many moves ahead is it possible for one man to plan? And how many players are involved in this game?
Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.
I discovered this author when I read another short story, Helene, for a blog tour back in March this year. Since reviewing that book I have also received copies of the main Lost Solace series from the author to read in exchange for review. I haven’t gotten round to them yet, but I knew when I saw this second upcoming blog tour I wanted to read more based around the universe before I dive into the main series!
I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this at the end of the month, so I have plenty of time to read Grubane.
Mindworm – David Pollard
The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences.Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?
Mindworm is my second blog tour read; although my post isn’t due to be published until the beginning of next month. I wanted to read it in plenty of time before my post is due to go live! Mindworm is a psychological thriller novel and having read some great ones lately, I’m really in the mood for another good read from this genre!
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.
Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.
But some can never stop searching for answers.
Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?
Sleeping Giants was on last month’s TBR, but since I didn’t want to hang onto This is Going to Hurt too long on account of it being a loan, I chose to delay reading this until this month. It’s also the first read of the month that will go towards my completion of the Beat the Backlist challenge. Sleeping Giants has been on my TBR since April 2016… so it’s definitely overdue reading!
Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.
Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
At 386 pages, Steelheart is the longest book on this month’s TBR. It’s quite common for me to pick up books that are around or even well over 500 pages, so it’s short(ish) by my standards. I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, as you may have guessed by the number of books of his I’ve read in the last year! Steelheart has been on my TBR for a long time as well – since January 2016! My Beat the Backlist challenge is the one I am most behind in and the TBR is growing slightly faster than it’s shrinking… I want to work on that and so a focus on some of the older books on my TBR kills two birds with one stone. Plus, if they’re that old I really do need to pull my finger out!
At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable novel about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”
My recent Shelf Control posts have made me very aware that I have a cluster of classics that I need to read as part of my Beat the Backlist challenge. I don’t want to find myself trying to read them all one after another. With that in mind, I decided to include one in August’s reading list. Lord of the Flies is probably one of the ones I am looking forward to reading the most – I can’t wait to let you know what I think of it.
Stuck in a virtual dreamworld called The Loop, a man named Quantum Hughes struggles to free himself from a glitch that forces him to live the same day on repeat. His life changes when a mysterious letter arrives one morning from a woman named Frances Euphoria, the first human player he has made contact with in a very long time. Once Frances appears, members of a murder guild known as the Reapers begin surfacing in The Loop, hoping to capture Quantum or worse — kill him. To further complicate matters, The Loop itself is doing everything it can to stop Quantum from finding the hidden logout point by turning everything in the virtual dreamworld against him.
With time running out, will Quantum break free from his digital coma before he’s captured or killed by the Reapers? Who is Frances Euphoria, and what does she actually know about how long Quantum has been trapped?
The Feedback Loop Series takes place thirty years before the Life is a Beautiful Thing Series. It shares the same world, but is a standalone series that focus on dream-based virtual reality worlds and the people who are trapped in them. The next book in the series will be called Steampunk is Dead, and will be released in the fall.
Last but certainly not least, I thought I could try and squeeze one more book onto the list to round off the month. I hadn’t actually realised that The Feedback Loop was that short! I didn’t expect it to weigh in just under 200 pages, but there we go! I’ve liked the sound of this sci-fi novel even though I haven’t read any of the books it relates to. I think it’s the perfect opportunity to give it a go and then if I enjoy it, I can consider the rest of them!
So, guys, that’s my reading list for August! It looks long compared to my previous lists, but in terms of page count I don’t think it is any longer than my previous ones.
Happy Sunday everyone and welcome back to today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you are all keeping well in these strange times? It’s fair to say I had a pretty good week overall; I managed a decent amount of reading as well as crocheting another blanket I’m working on. After several days of trying, I even got out into my back garden (finally)! I put out some garden furniture a couple of weeks ago now and in typical Manx fashion, the weather hasn’t been great since! It was lovely and warm today though, so managed to get out for a read this morning.
This week’s posting schedule ended up being lighter than I intended. My Shelf Control post went live on Friday as planned, but my scheduled review of Days of Blood & Starlight didn’t. I sat down a couple of nights and put some time into getting my thoughts down, but I struggled with it if I’m honest. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to do it and in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth writing garbage for the sake of content. The book is fantastic and I want my review to do the book justice, so after a couple of attempts I figured shelving it and coming back to it later was for the best.
I made a lot better reading progress this week. In last week’s Sunday Summary post I shared that I had only read around 30% of The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell during the week. That’s not my worst effort by any means, but still, it hasn’t been difficult for me to step up either. As of writing this post, I am 95% through and since the last 5% is only going to take me 20-25 minutes to finish, that’ll be done by tonight!
In addition, I also started reading This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. You may recall I mentioned this in last week’s Sunday Summary post as a work colleague has loaned it to me. Guys, honestly it’s hilarious! I don’t read many non-fiction books but this is proving to be a favourite so far! I’m around 40% through the book at the moment and I’m going to finish it after The Burning Land. I expect I’ll be finishing it quite quickly!
For the first time in a few weeks, I have nothing to add here. It’s a good job really… my TBR pile is getting bigger instead of smaller!
My first post of the week has to be my Reading List for August. Does anyone else think it’s scary that it is August already? I’ll be sharing my list either tomorrow or Tuesday, so please keep an eye out for that.
Later in the week, I’ll be sharing another First Lines Friday post. The last couple of times I have done this I have set a theme for my book selection. It makes it a bit more of an exciting challenge to find a book that meets the criteria. So, I’ll be setting a theme again for next week’s post. For this post, I have decided on a theme of non-fiction books. I don’t read much non-fiction so this really is a challenge – but one I’m looking forward to!
That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update. What have you been reading?