Tag: fantasy

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 8th August 2019

Hi friends and welcome back to my usual Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a lovely weekend? Mine has been nice and relaxing, for the most part. Aside from catching up with the housework (always a fun job) and going to a charity “Night at the Races” event, it’s been a quiet one. Plenty of time for reading, anyhow.

Earlier in the week, I shared my reading list for August. I shared it earlier than usual as I had a blog tour scheduled on Thursday for Birth of the Mortokai by Desmond Palmer and a First Lines Friday post to round off the working week. Having remembered on Monday/Tuesday, I must confess that I very nearly forgot to draft and schedule my blog tour post! I’ve never had a last-minute panic like that before, nor do I want it again!! That was the only near-disaster of the week though.

I’ve also decided to put a little more pressure on myself to beat a personal best. The all-time record number of books I have read in one year is 60, achieved in 2017. I have been way above and beyond schedule to meet my target of 50 books by the end of the year. To that end, I’ve decided to increase it to 70 books. I’m still just about on schedule to meet that goal, but getting over 60 will be a win in my eyes regardless of hitting 70 or not.

 

Books Read

I have lots of books to talk about – so I’ll try to keep each one brief.

I started the week with two reads carried over: Kau D’varza by David Noe and The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor. The Chalk Man was the first book I picked up and finished reading because it’s a lot shorter than Kau D’varza and frankly, I was HYPED about it! I think it’s one of my top reads of the year! Kau D’varza shortly followed, and after a few dedicated evenings to the book I could tick another sci-fi off the list!

Moving onwards, I’ve picked up another two books to read simultaneously for the latter end of the week. First and foremost, I have picked up Thran Book 1: The Birth by Brian McLaughlin. This is the first book on August’s TBR (since I didn’t get around to it in July) and at present, I am nearly 20% through the book. It’s quite a long one at 655 pages, but the world-building, characters and descriptions are fantastic!

On the side, I am also reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I have to say I haven’t read anything like it in my life. In a good way, it’s kinda weird. Keeping track of the murder and the guests/staff (and how they interact with others) at the Hardcastle estate is exciting. I’m nearly 40% through this read. I’m glad I allowed myself breathing room on the TBR to pick things up at will – I do enjoy some freedom in book choices.

I was hoping to say that I was finished listening to The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman, but I still have half an hour left to listen to. I think I’ll probably wrap up the evening with that once this Sunday Summary is posted. That way I can start afresh tomorrow. I’m torn between a couple of books and I currently have a poll on Twitter – can you help me decide what to listen to next?

 

Books Discovered

Where I had a lot to talk about in the section above, I don’t actually have anything of note here this week! About chuffing right too – I wish I could spend all my money on books instead of bills…

 

Coming Up…

Time to roll my sleeves up and devise next week’s plan (and hopefully remember it in good time…) Fortunately, I have no blog tours this week, so it wouldn’t be a disaster if I was a day late anyway.

I have a few backed up reviews to catch up on and this week, I want to share my thoughts about Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I finished reading this back in mid-May if that gives you an idea of how much I have to catch up on. Sword Song is the fourth book in the Last Kingdom / Saxon Stories series. I started reading them in 2017 and I always enjoy picking up the next book.

Since I added quite a few books to the TBR again recently I am going to sort through the next 10 on the list and see if there’s anything there I don’t want anymore. For my sanity’s sake I kinda hope so.

As usual, on Friday it’s the turn on my Shelf Control post. This week I am featuring a series as opposed to just one book! I can’t wait to share the details with you!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

In this section of my Sunday Summary post, I like to offer a quick nod to other amazing book bloggers by sharing some of the posts I really enjoyed reading! This week there is also another link to a bookish article published by the Telegraph. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have: –

 

The Book Prescription – July wrap-up 2

Book Blogger Hop – Owning Multiple Editions

Tea Reads – N.E.W.Ts Readathon

The Book Dad – The Hiding Place by C. J. Tudor

The Secret Library – Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week 04/08/2019

Racheleanne – August Book Haul (Stacking the Shelves) 2019

Penguin.co.uk – How to get out of a reading slump

So, that’s this Sunday Summary post wrapped up! what are you reading this week! Please take a moment to check out any of the links above and I would love your thoughts and votes on my Twitter poll!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Birth of the Mortokai – D G Palmer

I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about Birth of the Mortokai in today’s publication day push. All in all, I managed to read this book pretty quickly. It’s an approachable and enjoyable fantasy novel; my favourite thing about the book is its representation of minority individuals.

Before I jump into my full review, I’d just like to say a quick thank you to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

Now with the formalities out of the way, let’s jump right in!

 

Birth Of The Mortokai

Goodreads – Birth of the Mortokai

Daniel Welsh was born different—and to Daniel, to be different means to be alone. But what if he’s wrong?

Born an albino with a photographic memory, Daniel Welsh never expected to fit in. Yet, when he is approached by Trinity—a young girl who definitely isn’t human—she reveals a whole new world where he might just belong. Ariest is a place where his features aren’t a disability or the mark of a freak, but rather a trait of powerful mages born of human-faerie unions. His father is a renowned war hero and swordsman, his mother is a human doctor, and that makes him a powerful mage that’ll tip the scales. Magic is real—and so is the threat it brings.

Trinity and her father, a battle mage, aren’t the only ones to have discovered Daniel and his gifts hidden in the human realm.

The Shade have awakened.

Enemies to the fae realm long thought dead have been lying in wait for their moment to strike. Young mages like Daniel are the perfect morsel for their starving appetites and they start their killing spree without delay with the nearest unsuspecting mage boy. Daniel cannot sit idly by while monsters take innocent lives, so he will embrace a destiny he is only just beginning to understand… even if it means losing a life that’s finally worth living.

Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult coming of age fantasy adventure novel. Trigger warning: this novel contains descriptions of albinism, a real genetic disorder that affects 1/17,000 persons worldwide per year.

 

Purchase Links:      Kobo Store    Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult, coming of age novel. Our main character has gone through a lot even before the story begins. As I mentioned above, my favourite element of the book is that our main character has albinism. This is so rare that I have never come across it before. I think it’s great that the author chose to represent a minority group. The nature of the novel celebrates the way in which it makes Daniel different from others. I love how positive the book is about this character and his uniqueness.

A lot of people will relate to Daniel’s position of being subjected to bullying, singling out and made not to fit in at school. It’s all too common (kids are cruel), but he has within him a resilience that can be admired. This makes him a very likeable character and his progress of discovering himself is something we as a reader want to invest into with him.

Aside from Daniel, there are plenty of characters to help him discover himself and his magical abilities. Fairies, boggarts and powerful mages burst into his normal life and he is swept off his feet (quite literally) into a new world. With his natural instincts and a few friends made along the way, Daniel faces a threat he never knew existed. Clutching to the knowledge he has acquired, courtesy of his photographic memory, he is the linchpin in fighting back against a growing darkness – the Shade.

The pace of the novel is comfortable. It’s easy to read, yet equally, there is plenty of action and new discoveries driving the narrative. At 246 pages, Birth of the Mortokai is a relatively short fantasy novel to delve into. Considering its length compared to other fantasy novels, I wouldn’t say there are any compromises in the structure or plot. The author alludes to a well-established world history and the descriptions are immersive.

I’m hoping to read more of Daniel’s adventures and training to fulfil his potential as the mage he was born to be.

 

Author Bio

Currently residing in London, England, D.G. Palmer writes in the Spec Fiction genre, using his imagination to create vivid worlds and captivating characters.

An avid reader and player of video games, in the past, he was part of table top roleplaying groups where he nurtured his storytelling by penning several story arcs.

Feel free to follow him on Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram. If you wish to receive updates about his latest books, event dates and other exclusive news, sign up to The World of D.G. Palmer and enter his mind. He warns it can be a mess sometimes, so make sure you wipe your feet on the way out – you never know what you might take with you.

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook     Goodreads     Instagram     Bookbub     Twitter     Pinterest

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 28th July 2019

Today’s Sunday Summary post comes to you on a bit of a miserable day to end a gorgeous week. Let’s make the best of it, shall we?

I took full advantage of having a much-needed week off work and got plenty of reading done! As well as catching up on my reading (which I definitely needed!) I published three midweek posts for you. Conscious that it has been a while since I last looked at my TBR, I published another Down the TBR Hole post. I managed to take three books off the list in that post. Of course, I’ve added even more books to the list since then… I need help, okay!

On Thursday I shared my review of Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I really enjoyed the change of genre and reading a novel that blends Liverpool’s history into a gothic narrative.

Finally, on Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. This week I showcased the third oldest book on my TBR list; it’s a fantasy novel with an intriguing spy/mystery element to it.

 

Books Read

I have spent the majority of the week desperately trying to finish part one of A Dance with Dragons. I really love these books but man, they are so long! At the top of the week I felt like I was behind in the month’s reading. I suppose I still am, but I feel in a much better position now. I finally managed to finish the book after chipping away at it for several days. I’m nearly through my re-read of the series now!

Next, I was quick to start reading Kau D’Varza by David Noe. After working with David and reviewing Seeker previously, I was keen to delve back into the Chaosnova universe and enjoy reading some science fiction again. I started the book on Friday evening and by the end of yesterday, I made it nearly halfway through the 500-page book!

Getting so far, I decided I wanted to pick another book up as well. I have read a lot of fantasy lately and having had a brief look at the last book on my list, it didn’t feel like a book I could juggle with others all that well. So, I confess, I’ve gone off on a tangent and picked up something else completely not on the list. I don’t feel bad at all; it’s proven the breath of fresh air I’ve needed. The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor is brilliant! I started reading it last night and I’m already around two-thirds of the way through it. I can’t leave it alone, so the goal is to finish it tomorrow at the latest!

Lastly, I managed to make the progress I hoped to with my audiobook, The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman. Despite being off work, there were a few journeys in the car to meet a friend or go shopping that gave me the opportunity to continue listening to the story. With any luck, I’ll be telling you that I’ve finished it next week!

 

Books Discovered

I felt proud of myself for taking three books off my ridiculously long TBR on Monday, however, that was short-lived.

I’ve only gone and added five more to the list. I can’t even apologise to myself because I don’t feel guilty! Here is a list of the books I’ve added and how I acquired them: –

  • Imaginary Friend – Netgalley download by taking part in promo for the new book
  • The One Hundred Nights of Hero – Added having read a fab review – link in Top Posts section below
  • The Exact Opposite of Okay – Added having read a fab review – but forgot to copy the link. I’m an idiot
  • Scouse Gothic 2 – Sent to me by the author having toured with the first book of the series
  • Circe – Purchased because it sounds amazing!

In addition to buying Circe, I also bought a copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. That’s been on the TBR for a while though, so it doesn’t strictly count as “new”.

 

Coming Up…

So, what’s coming up on my blog next week? Whenever I ask myself this question, the first answer is ‘absolutely no idea’. That’s the truth. It’s at the point of writing this post that I make that plan.

Typically I share my reading list in the first few days of the month in question, however, due to my existing schedule I’m actually going to publish it early – on Tuesday 30th.

On Thursday I’ll be sharing my review of a recent read – Birth of the Mortokai by D G Palmer as part of the upcoming tour for the book. I really enjoyed the storyline centred around a character with a unique trait – albinism. Anyway, I won’t go into detail here… I’ll save it for my review!

On Friday it’s the turn of my First Lines Friday post. I have no idea which book I’ll feature this week, so it’s as much a surprise for you as it is me right now.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

In this section of my Sunday Summary post I like to offer a quick nod to other amazing book bloggers by sharing some of the posts I really enjoyed reading! This week there is also another link to a bookish article published by the Telegraph. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have: –

Telegraph – Still Obsessed George Orwells 1984

June 2019 Shelflove Crate Unboxing SPOILERS

Book Review: The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

First Lines Fridays #83

Book Blogging Myths

So, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have enjoyed reading what I’m up to!

What have you been reading?

 

 

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Shelf Control – 26/07/2019

Welcome back to my new regular feature post, Shelf Contol! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies.  It is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control, for me, is about looking in more detail about the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I get the chance to talk about why I want to keep them in more detail and it acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.

It’s week three, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR! I added today’s featured book back in January 2015 – over four years ago still. I’m seriously going to have to work on this backlog…

 

City of Stairs (The Divine Cities #1) – Robert Jackson Bennett

 

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.

But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.

 

My Thoughts…

So, I’m still sticking to my fantasy routes with this particular book. I have a lot of fantasy books at the beginning of my TBR. That was all I used to read. I am far more genre diverse now, thanks to my blog more than anything. Fantasy will always be my greatest love though.

There is huge potential for a lot of world-building in this novel. Clearly, the world and society are very unlike our own. Reading is a form of escapism for me. If I don’t feel like there is enough detail or I don’t understand the fictional world I am delving into, I don’t enjoy it. Sounds geeky, I know. How successfully an author can put together a fictional world is a huge part of whether I enjoy a book.

What makes City of Stairs stand out is the spy and mystery element of the story. In addition to fantasy I also really enjoy novels with a mystery to be solved within them. This genre crossover isn’t something I see every day, so I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.

Have you read City of Stairs or any other books in the series? What did you make of it?

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 21st July 2019

This week’s Sunday Summary post promises to be far more chilled out than last week! I’m back to my manageable three posts per week schedule, and damn it feels good! I’ve also had the luxury of a few days ‘break’, which has been refreshing. In aid of mum’s birthday on Friday, my sister has been over for the weekend. We’ve had a lovely few days to spend together as a family. The timing has been fortunate as my sister has also been able to wish our aunt a happy birthday in person today too! So, for the second time this week I’m sending out birthday wishes here on my blog, this time to my aunt!

So, what have I been up to this week? Aside from picking up the office cold and spending the weekend with my family, things have been pretty run-of-the-mill. I’m back on my usual posting schedule which takes a lot of pressure off. On Tuesday I posted a review of A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. It was tough (for reasons I explain in that post), but let’s be honest… I could talk about A Game of Thrones until your ears fell off. On Friday I published my scheduled First Lines Friday post. This week’s featured book is by an author that I love for a completely different historical fiction series he has written.

 

Books Read

Birth of the Mortokai was the first book I picked up this week. I had read a third of the book at the time of writing last week’s Sunday Summary post; it didn’t take too long to finish. By that, I mean I finished it on Monday.

From there I started reading A Dance with Dragons pt 1: Dreams and Dust. This is what I have been reading for the rest of the week. Since I have had a few other bits on, I’m around 180 pages through with it at the moment. I’ll be picking this up again before bed tonight and I’m hoping to finish this next week. Under normal circumstances, this would be a little ambitious. I have the week off work though, so I’m sure this is achievable!

For the first time in weeks, I have started listening to another audiobook. I was torn between a couple I have waiting to be listened to, however, I decided to venture into unknown waters. I’ve began listening to Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke. This isn’t too long a tale; I’m already around 40% through and it’ll take another four hours to finish. Despite being off work I reckon I can get at least another two hours down by next week.

 

Books Discovered

I have been reasonably good this week. Strictly speaking, I haven’t added any new books to the TBR or bought any. I have entered a competition to win an ARC copy of Stephen Chbosky’s new novel Imaginary Friend today. I’ll let you know if I manage to get my hands on a copy!

 

Coming Up…

In light of the fact that I am off work next week, I’ve decided I’ll be ambitious and try to write four blog posts next week. It’s busy, but not a mad schedule.

I’m going to kick off the week by taking another look at the lengthy TBR. It’s been a while since my last Down the TBR Hole post. I’m past overdue checking out the next ten books on the list and deciding whether they should stay or go… so that’s what I’ll do!

I’m really looking forward to taking part in the blog tour of Scouse Gothic by Ian KcKinney on Thursday. The novel is completely different to anything I have read before. I can’t wait to share my full thoughts on the book in Thursday’s post.

Friday’s regular feature flits back to Shelf Control. I started this series by going right back to the beginning of my TBR. Shelf Control differs from Down the TBR Hole as instead of a large scale, general look at the books on the list, I’ll be picking on one and going into more detail about why it’s on the list.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

As always in this section of the post, I like to share some blog posts I have really enjoyed reading by sharing the links with you all. I hope there is something here that you will enjoy reading too: –

 

Her Paper World – Treating My Shelf: My Most Recent Bookmail

Golden Books Girl – The 30 Interesting Questions Tag

Book Bosomed Blonde – Best Books of the Year (so far)

So, what have you been reading or writing this week? Feel free to drop me a comment below!

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 14th July 2019

The last time I managed to write five blog posts in one week, I swore it would be a long time before I took on such a busy schedule again. That was only five weeks ago – but here we are! To recap for anyone that hasn’t seen those posts yet, here is a summary of my week:-

As it’s the second week of July, I thought it would be a great opportunity to reflect on the last six months with a Mid Year Book Freak Out tag on Monday. It was loads of fun to write. As well as looking back to the beginning of the year, there are also a couple of questions geared around my reading goals for the latter half of 2019.

On Tuesday I published my review for a YA fantasy novel I loved recently. Empress of All Seasons was kindly sent to me for review by Gollancz. Even though I wouldn’t identify as a YA reader, this book was enjoyable for a number of reasons. One such I touch upon in my review is that I really enjoyed the Japanese culture throughout the book – a huge change from the medieval European setting many fantasy worlds are built upon.

I didn’t even announce Thursday’s post. I took part in a cover reveal for Jo Baxter’s Viola Pumpernickel and the Emerald Lady. It’s a middle-grade children’s book that I think I would have really enjoyed when I was growing up, so I was glad to take part and lend my support by sharing the new cover.

Lastly, I published my second Shelf Control post on Friday. I this week’s edition, I look back at my decisions for adding Steven Erikson’s fantasy novel Gardens of the Moon to my reading list.

 

Books Read

This week has felt rewarding. Not only have I managed to churn out an unnatural number of posts, I’ve also finished a couple of really good books!

I have been reading The War Within for a few weeks now. At around 570 pages, this is no mean feat. The War Within is so much more than its predecessor Seventh Decimate. Events are on a far grander scale, and the novel follows on a number of years after those in the first book. The narrative had a lot of ground to cover to bridge the gap between the two books. As a result, it wasn’t as easy to read for that. I still really enjoyed the book, but the intensity of the first half made it very time consuming to pick up and digest before continuing.

I don’t like taking so long to read books like that. It’s silly – I shouldn’t put such pressure on myself. I am way ahead of my reading goal, but I like to get through books in days, not weeks. I get a little frustrated if reading a book takes more time than I think it should. I’m daft, I know, but it’s the honest truth.

My reading picked up significantly afterwards though, as I picked up and read Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney in less than two days. Yes, you read that right! It’s only quite a short book by comparison (around 200 pages). Picking up a contemporary novel laced with humour helped relieve my frustration.

My current read is another fantasy novel. I have quite a few on the list this month, so I am interspersing other genres in between them. I started reading Birth of the Mortokai yesterday. Even though I haven’t made any progress on it today (I spend every Sunday afternoon with my family), I’m still a third of the way through the book. I’m hoping to get to around half-way by the end of the night and wrap this up in the next couple of days. I feel like I have some time to make up, as I have a few longer books to read later in the month.

 

Books Discovered

I have been REALLY good this week! Not only did I swerve every bookshop, but I also haven’t even added anything to the TBR! I’m quite surprised with myself actually!

 

Coming Up…

Next week is definitely not going to be as manic! I deserve a break – haha!

There’s no rest for the wicked though! I have a few book reviews stacking up, so I’d like to tackle one of those. This week, I would like to share my thoughts on A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. Prepare for a long and gushy review… I think you all know my love for George R. R. Martin’s books by now.

My regular Friday feature flips back to First Lines Friday later next week, so I’ll be sharing the first few lines of a book on my TBR. Let’s see if you can guess what it is!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

I hope it is apparent from the list below that I have spent a lot more time blog hopping this week. I’ve been cursing this flaw I have for quite some time, so I’m making a conscious effort to do more about it. I’ve checked out a few blogs before work, during my lunch hour and before bed – any spare minute I’ve had really. I hope the effort shows. It’s paid off for me as I’ve discovered a few new bloggers to follow.

Here are some of the posts I have loved reading this week: –

CescaLizzieReads – Blogtour Book Review The Whisper Man

Not Another Book Blogger – Mini-Review: The Taking of Annie Thorne

Dees Reading Tree – 20 Questions Book Tag

Literature and Sunshine – Thank You, Next Book Tag

Kristin Kraves Books – Book Bucket List Tag

The Book Dutchesses – Bookish Item – 2019 Reading Goals Update Part 2

Bookidote – Book Review Crowfall

So, what have you been reading or writing this week? Feel free to drop me a comment below!

 

 

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Shelf Control #2 – 12/07/2019

Welcome back to my new regular feature post, Shelf Contol!

You may remember the purpose of this post from my outline a couple of weeks ago. If not, here’s a summary. Shelf Control is run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly (or in my case, fortnightly) celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control, for me, is about looking in more detail about the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I get the chance to talk about why I want to keep them in more detail and it acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.

It’s week two, so let’s look at the second book on the TBR! This also dates back to December 2014. Perhaps it’s a little overdue?

 

Gardens of the Moon (Malazan Book of the Fallen #1) – Steven Erikson

 

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

 

My Thoughts…

There is a definite theme when it comes to my older book choices. They are all in the fantasy genre! As a teenager, that was pretty much all I would read, with a couple of exceptions. It’s still my favourite genre now, although I definitely need to intersperse my reading with other genres to keep things fresh.

Gardens of the Moon has really mixed reviews on Goodreads. People either seem to love it or not get on with it at all. Sometimes that can sway my opinion, but I am not going to let it with this one. I think the synopsis sounds really interesting. Not only that, but reviews of the later books in the series get a lot better! I gather it is a little confusing to start – it might just be a case of persevering until the pieces start to fit together.

I was confident that I wanted to give this book a try, so I have the ebook sat on my kindle waiting for me to pull my finger out and pick it up!

Have you read Gardens of the Moon or any other books in the Malazan Book of the Fallen series? What did you think?

 

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Book Review Banner

Book Review: Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

Earlier this year, I received an ARC of Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean to read, for the purpose of an honest review. Firstly, can I say a huge thank you to Gollancz for the opportunity to read such a beautiful, stand-out book?!

Today, I want to tell you how glad I am that I requested this book to review! I do read a little YA fantasy, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a YA reader. Instead, what compelled me to request the book is the Japanese influence and culture. Most fantasy I read is heavily influenced by Western ideals and society… so Empress of All Seasons was going to be a completely new experience for me!

 

Empress of All Seasons

Goodreads – Empress of All Seasons

In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

 

My Thoughts…

The Eastern culture really shines through in this novel, as I hoped it would! Combined with several well developed main characters, a complex social structure and growing unrest giving rise to conflict and rebellion, Empress of All Seasons is the whole package.

Mari is the fierce strong female lead I hoped she would be. She is brought up to take part in the competition to win the title of Empress. She is naturally competitive, thanks to her mother’s tutoring. But she has a secret. She isn’t the girl her mother thinks she is. Mari fights to become Empress to end depravity against her people. She longs to be treated as equal.

Animal wives, in human form, are famed for being the most beautiful. They seduce and marry rich men so they can take off their wealth and have their children to sustain the population. If caught, they are enslaved. Mari’s village is isolated and remains hidden from everyone for protection. Such is the price of freedom from the collar. Mari longs to change that.

As Empress of All Seasons is so different from my usual reads, immersing myself in Emiko Jean’s fantasy world, steeped in an unfamiliar culture, took a little getting used to. I spent three or four days of picking this up and putting it down periodically to digest who was who and what was happening. At that point, I had only gotten around halfway through the narrative, but quickly after that everything fell into place. The conflict in the plot piqued and I was hooked. I read the rest of the book in less than two days.

Mari, Taro and Akira are all vastly different characters whose lives collide in this tale. Even though they each have their different backgrounds and privileges, what struck me the most is that despite this, they are all desperate to break away from the expectations others have of them. That’s something I think we readers can all relate to.

For all the reasons above, Empress of All Seasons is a really enjoyable standalone read. For that reason, I think it will appeal to all fantasy readers – especially those in the market for a breath of fresh air in a popular, saturated genre.

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 23rd June 2019

Good evening everybody! I hope you have all had a good week and an even better weekend! I’ve really enjoyed mine because I have spent a fair bit of it (more than usual) with my mum. Dad has had to go to America for work; whilst he’s enjoying the sights today, we’ve just been doing the usual. At least we’re together though!

I’ve also had quite a good week blog-wise. I’ve been trying to catch up on some reviews I have still to write, particularly for audiobooks. I’ll be the first person to admit that I listen to them, move onto the next and forget to add them to my review list. To that end, I reviewed my listen of Lock In by John Scalzi earlier this week.

I’ve also started one of two new regular posts I’ll be featuring. I’ll be sharing these posts fortnightly on alternate weeks, so long as I don’t have any blog tours or other commitments. This week’s post was a First Lines Friday post, featuring Blackwing by Ed McDonald. My choice was inspired by a current read at the time, Crowfall, the final instalment of the trilogy.

 

***Announcement***

In addition to the above, my blog has officially broadened its horizons! For a long time, I’ve been putting off setting up a Facebook page for my blog and promoting myself. I guess I was worried about what people I knew would think. I needn’t have worried though really. I’m proud of the time and effort I put into my hobby. Why should I worry about what someone I went to school with thinks? The people that matter to me already knew of it, even if they hadn’t seen it.

So, I’m now on Facebook! It’s going to take a little while to build up my page and presence, but it’s a move I’m glad I made. If anyone wants to follow me there, there’s a link to my page in the sidebar, or alternatively, you can find me here!

And now, back to the usual Sunday Summary schedule: –

 

Books Read

Following on from my last Sunday Summary post, I left off with two current reads, Three by K. J. McGillick and Crowfall by Ed McDonald. At the top of the week, I was just over halfway through Three, however, I confess I allowed myself to be sidetracked with that book. I only just finished reading this early this afternoon.

I’ve spent most of the week reading Crowfall. It’s not even on this month’s TBR, but what can I say? I was just looking forward to reading it so much! I received my copy from Gollancz a couple of weeks ago and it’s been taunting me to pick it up. It’s the final book in the Raven’s Mark trilogy and I had to find out what happened next! I finished Crowfall on Friday evening. Whilst I’m sad it’s over, I’m also happy with the way everything ended.

Last night I began The War Within by Stephen Donaldson. I’ve only read the prologue so far, about thirty pages) but I’m intrigued to see how this second instalment to the series pans out. My understanding is that the writing style is different from the first book, which I think I’ll enjoy. It’s also a lot longer, so I’ll need to get my reading skates on if I want to finish my TBR this month.

I’m sure I’ll manage!

 

Books Discovered

I have a couple of additions to the TBR this week – shock. No sooner do I whittle it down a few books, I add more! The curse of the bookworm I guess!

This week, I’ve added Vox by Christina Dalcher and Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Vox has the touch of dystopian fiction that I love. As awful as the idea is of the oppression of women, I’m not going to lie, I like reading it. I love to rally behind characters that fight their oppressors, be that for issues relating to gender, racial… whatever! Rivers of London is a blend of fantasy and mystery, with a touch of paranormal. An interesting combination and I can’t wait to see what I make of it.

 

Coming Up…

I’ve been looking forward to reading Three and taking part the blog tour which, you guessed it, is coming up next week! My tour post is to go live on Wednesday, so I really hope you can take a minute out of your busy schedules to read my thoughts on my latest read by K. J. McGillick.

On Friday this week, I’ll be starting my second regular feature post, called Shelf Control. It’s a post originally hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies and I love the idea of dedicating a post to books you are yet to read. Lord knows I have plenty of them to talk about!

I haven’t yet chosen my feature book, but I have a few days to decide! I only have 194 on my TBR to choose from…

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

 

Jo’s Book Blog – Shelf Control 19-06-19

Jo’s Book Blog – Vox by Christina Dalcher

Bookidote – Recursion by Blake Crouch

 

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 20/06/2019

Happy Friday everybody!

I’m celebrating the end of the week with a brand new type of post – First Lines Friday. I’ve seen plenty of other bloggers sharing these posts; I have enjoyed reading them myself and I feel inspired to write my own. It’s a fun way to introduce new books to potential readers!

This is one of two new posts I am scheduling in on a regular basis. Both posts are typically published weekly elsewhere, however, I will be publishing them both fortnightly on a Friday (on alternate weeks) to avoid things becoming too repetitive. This is also dependent on my other blogging commitments.

So, shall we get on with today’s post? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book!

 

 

 

 

Somebody warned them that we were coming. The sympathisers left nothing behind but an empty apartment and a few volumes of illegal verse. A half-eaten meal, ransacked drawers. They’d scrambled together what little they could carry and fled east into the Misery. Back when I wore a uniform the marshal told me only three kinds of people willingly enter the Misery: the desperate, the stupid and the greedy. The sympathisers were desperate enough. I gathered a dozen stupid, greedy men and set out to kill them.

 

 

 

 

Today’s book choice is inspired by one of my current reads. Any ideas on the book the extract is from?

Blackwing – Ed McDonald

BlackwingThe republic faces annihilation, despite the vigilance of Galharrow’s Blackwings. When a raven tattoo rips itself from his arm to deliver a desperate message, Galharrow and a mysterious noblewoman must investigate a long dead sorcerer’s legacy. But there is a conspiracy within the citadel: traitors, flesh-eaters and the ghosts of the wastelands seek to destroy them, but if they cannot solve the ancient wizard’s paradox, the Deep Kings will walk the earth again, and all will be lost.

The war with the Eastern Empire ended in stalemate some eighty years ago, thanks to Nall’s ‘Engine’, a wizard-crafted weapon so powerful even the Deep Kings feared it. The strike of the Engine created the Misery – a wasteland full of ghosts and corrupted magic that now forms a No Mans Land along the frontier. But when Galharrow investigates a frontier fortress, he discovers complacency bordering on treason: then the walls are stormed, and the Engine fails to launch. Galharrow only escapes because of the preternatural magical power of the noblewoman he was supposed to be protecting. Together, they race to the capital to unmask the traitors and restore the republic’s defences. Far across the Misery a vast army is on the move, as the Empire prepares to call the republic’s bluff.

So, what did you think of the introduction to Blackwing? Have you read the book or added it your TBR?

 

 

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