Posted in Uncategorized

5 Star Predictions #2

“I may have found a solution to the Wife Problem.”

First line in The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Hi, guys. Last week I posted my first 5 star predictions wrap up post, and let’s just say I’d done a pretty awful job of picking 5-star reads for myself. Instead of giving up, I decided to take it as a learning experience so now I’m giving it another attempt. I’ve picked out 5 books from my TBR that I’m pretty sure is at least a 4-star worthy read and hopefully 5.


The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Drowned Country by Emily Tesh
(The Greenhollow Duology #2)

Drowned Country is the the stunning sequel to Silver in the Wood, Emily Tesh’s lush, folkloric debut. This second volume of the Greenhollow duology once again invites readers to lose themselves in the story of Henry and Tobias, and the magic of a myth they’ve always known.

Even the Wild Man of Greenhollow can’t ignore a summons from his mother, when that mother is the indomitable Adela Silver, practical folklorist. Henry Silver does not relish what he’ll find in the grimy seaside town of Rothport, where once the ancient wood extended before it was drowned beneath the sea―a missing girl, a monster on the loose, or, worst of all, Tobias Finch, who loves him.

Firestarter by Tara Sim
(Timekeeper #3)

The crew of the Prometheus is intent on taking down the world’s clock towers so that time can run freely. Now captives, Colton, Daphne, and the others have a stark choice: join the Prometheus’s cause, or fight back in any small way they can and face the consequences. But Zavier, leader of the terrorists, has a bigger plan—to bring back the lost god of time.

As new threats emerge, loyalties must shift. No matter where the Prometheus goes—Prague, Austria, India—nowhere is safe, and every second ticks closer toward the eleventh hour. Walking the line between villainy and heroism, each will have to choose what’s most important: saving those you love at the expense of the many, or making impossible sacrifices for the sake of a better world.

I am very confident that I’ve picked some great books this time, even though 3 of them are by authors I’ve never read before. The last two are from series I’ve already started and given 5 stars to previous installments. Looking forward to reading these in the next few months and hopefully come back to you with a more positive wrap up post. Happy reading!

Posted in Fun Lists

Female Authors On My TBR #WomenInSFF

“Thick evening fog clung to the forlorn banks of Ward’s Island, turning it into a ghost of itself.”

First line in Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray

Hi, guys and welcome to part 2 of my contribution to the #WomenInSFF highlighting that’s going on over at The Fantasy Hive. Last week I talked about some of the underrated female authors I love and so today we’re taking a closer look on those female authors still waiting patiently on my TBR. There were quite a few, but I have managed to pick 10 to share with you.


Mary E. Pearson

Works to read:
The Remnant Chronicles
Dance of Thieves

Robin Hobb

Works to read:
Realm of the Elderlings

Laura Lam

Works to read:
Micah Grey

Jen Williams

Works to read:
The Winnowing Flame Trilogy

Alix E. Harrow

Works to read:
The Ten Thousand Doors of January
The Once and Future Witches

Helene Wecker

Works to read:
The Golem and the Jinni

Katherine Addison

Works to read:
The Goblin Emperor
The Angel of the Crows

K. Ancrum

Works to read:
The Weight of the Stars
The Wicker King

Thilde Kold Holdt

Works to read:
Northern Wrath

Aliette de Bodard

Works to read:
Dominion of the Fallen

10 authors I have heard nothing but amazing things about so really wish I could start all of their books right now. Sadly I can’t. Do you have some female authors you’re dying to read?

Posted in Wrap up

June 2020 Reading Wrap Up

“For my kind, the first sign our world was ending came on October 24, 1946.

First line in The Hanged Man by K. D. Edwards

Hi, guys. We got to the end of another month so here you have the mini-reviews for the books I read in June. It was a pretty standard month for me reading-wise. Even though I felt like I didn’t read very much, I still hit my usual 5 books. Take a look at my stats:

So I read male authors this month, although not on purpose. This is the first time this year that I’ve read more male authors than female so I’m going to say that’s alright.

I read two books this month that only feature in the pages read statistic. One because I DNF’d it and the other because it was too short to rate and review. The DNF was Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin, which I still have a mini-review for in this post. The short book was The Sunken Mall by K. D. Edwards, which is a short story from the Tarot Sequence series. Highly enjoyable but I’m not writing a review for it. However, I do have 5 other mini-reviews for you so enjoy!

The Dragon Reborn (Wheel of Time #3)

Author: Robert Jordan

Published: October 15th 1991

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Read the synopsis for the first book in the series, The Eye of the World.

My thoughts

This book was not only boring as hell but also kind of pointless. Extremely little happened in this book to push the plot along. Instead, it focuses on the side-characters a lot and I guess this book is meant to develop them a little more. However, their character development is minimal. The only one I really enjoyed reading about was Perrin. The rest of them hasn’t managed to use their brain in this series yet.

I also think Jordan’s pacing is a little off. Small menial tasks the characters do get more pages than the final showdown. That’s kind of frustrating. The ending left me with a “that’s it?”-feeling. It just cemented my belief that this book should only have been half as long.

The Hanged Man (The Tarot Sequence #2)

Author: K. D. Edwards

Published: December 17th 2019

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read the synopsis for the first book in the series, The Last Sun.

My thoughts

This second book in The Tarot Sequence fixed the few problems I had with the world-building in book 1, and it did it very early on. I had a much better grasp on how everything worked which just helped me to be more invested in the story. I can tell that there are still more to know about the world but that’s part of this series’ charm. You don’t get information before the narrator, Rune, decides you need it. It works so well to keep the suspense building. You never know what he might spring on you.

The relationships between these characters are still my favorite thing about this series. It’s almost like I don’t need all the action (which there’s plenty of), and would love it just as much if it was all about conversations between these characters. They are so deep and meaningful that I just want more! The different dynamics between the characters also make it all so interesting to follow.

Serpent and Dove (Serpent and Dove #1)

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Published: September 3rd 2019

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

My rating: DNF at 70%

Synopsis: Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Goodreads

My thoughts

The fact that I don’t DNF books but couldn’t finish this one, should tell you all you need to know about my feelings towards this.

The short version is that I didn’t like a single thing about it. The characters were annoying, the world-building wasn’t prioritized because the romance needed to be developed (but they actually had zero chemistry), and at 70% I still wasn’t sure what the plot was about.

One thing I want to talk about in more detail is the sexism towards men in this book. It clearly wants to portray “strong female characters”, but I would argue that the women in here are only perceived as strong when they are demeaning to the men. The men have so many flaws to their character and it seems like they’re there only for the women to exploit and show how powerful they are. I don’t like that. Isn’t that just the gender-bent version of what we’ve been complaining about for years? So yeah, this book completely misses the mark of equality for me.

However, I guess I can see why people would like this. If fantasy romance is your favorite genre, this would be a much better fit for you than me. Also just wants to make sure that you know you’re allowed to like a book even if some people find it sexist.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1)

Author: Becky Chambers

Published: July 29th 2014

Genre: Science Fiction

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Buzzwords: wholesomeness, diversity, friend group

Synopsis: Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.

Goodreads

My thoughts

It’s weird. This is a perfectly good book with diverse and unique characters… but it still failed to make me care. I think that’s due to the fact that this is a very optimistic and hopeful story without too many issues that need to be solved. I prefer my books a little more hardhitting, but if you don’t, I don’t foresee you having any problems with this one.

One thing I really liked about it, though, was Chambers’ use of contrasts between the alien species and humans. It’s a really great tool to make the reader reflect on certain topics. While reading, I often had the thought “yeah, that’s actually a pretty weird thing to do now that I think about it.” simply because the alien would do the complete opposite. I loved these parts of the book and think it could have been exploited even more.

Neverwhere

Author: Neil Gaiman

Published: September 16th 1996

Genre: Fantasy

My rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Buzzwords: London, underground world, weird, scary villains

Synopsis: Richard Mayhew is a young London businessman with a good heart whose life is changed forever when he stops to help a bleeding girl—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed. Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I finally found a book by Gaiman that I loved! His writing really shines in this one where he has an entire underground world to play with. I love experiencing these kinds of worlds in books where the author seems to start out with the sentiment of ‘the weirder the better’. I mean, there’s an entire group of people who worships rats in this one, and that’s not even close to being the weirdest thing.

I also have a thing for anything British and Neverwhere is practically screaming British-ness. Not only from its London-setting and references to places there, but also from its humor and its jokes about typical British behaviour. It really helps build the world up as realistic and therefore more immersive.

My last thoughts are about the fact that before starting this, I saw people having it shelved as horror on Goodreads. Now that I’ve read it, I get it. The two villians in here are absolutely horrible people. I was actually scared of them and I remember feeling the same way about the villain in another Gaiman book, The Graveyard Book. Is he actually the master of creating scary villains?

The only reason I took off half a star is because I wish I had connected a little more with the characters. They are great characters but I don’t consider any of them my favorite characters ever if you get what I mean.

Those were the 5 books I read this month. Have I inspired you to read any of them? And please, let me know if you’ve already read them and what you thought. Hope you had a great month and happy reading in July!

Posted in Book Memes

Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

“From the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, the city was spread at Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood’s feet like a gift.”

First line in The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare

Hi, guys and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. Today we’re talking about the new releases coming in the remaining half of 2020 (yes, we still have a whole 6 months left of this hell year). Since I don’t care very much about new releases, my list is mainly made up of sequels to series I’m already reading, although there are a few starters to series/standalones in there. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


  • The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen (August 18) – The Merciful Crow #2. A great fantasy-spin on caste systems.
  • The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare (September 1) – The Eldest Curses #2. More Magnus and Alec? Yes please!
  • The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (September 22) – Standalone. Your favorite hand determines your ability in an alternate London? Oh, and they’re all booksellers apparantly because why not?
  • The Archive of the Forgotten by A. J. Hackwith (October 6) – Hell’s Library #2. My favorite group of people trying to prevent books from running away.
  • The Captive Kingdom by Jennifer A. Nielsen (October 6) – The Ascendance Series #4. A series I thought was over but of course ready for another adventure with Jaron.
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab (October 6) – Standalone. You all know what this is.
  • Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (October 6) – The Queen’s Thief #6. My level of excitement for this is indescribable.
  • Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt (October 27) – The Hanged God Trilogy #1. Vikings and Norse gods!(!!)
  • Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson (November 17) – The Stormlight Archive #4. You’re not getting a description of this one either.
  • A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir (December 1) – An Ember in the Ashes #4. Finally!!! A slave tries to save her brother (and possibly the world) in this brutal, Roman inspired setting.

Those are 10 books I should be reading the day they come out but probably won’t. I feel excused on October 6 because four of these are published on that exact date. Why is that date so special?? I need to know!

Well, I’m super excited to read all of these. What are some of your most anticipated releases?

Posted in Uncategorized

Books I Recently Added to My TBR: Wyrd and Wonder Edition (Part 2)

“Hmm. No. I’m telling this wrong.”

First line in The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

Hi, guys. I’m back with part 2 of telling you about all the books I added to my TBR in the month of May. It was the month of Wyrd and Wonder so all of these books are in the fantasy genre. If you missed part 1, it’s right here.

As I clearified in the first post, I haven’t necessarily discovered these books through Wyrd and Wonder related posts. This is merely a list of all the fantasy books I added to my TBR during May. Let’s start!


The Lightning-Struck Heart by T. J. Klune

Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam’s pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the King’s Wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam is fourteen, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At fifteen, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle. Sir Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell through the years when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can’t control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the King sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan’s boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or so he thinks.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • “the hornless gay unicorn”… What? Like you need more reasons.
  • Sounds deliciously weird
  • T. J. Klune is an author I need to try. This is the third book of his I’m adding to my TBR. The first two being The House in the Cerulean Sea and Wolfsong.

The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington

It has been twenty years since the end of the war. The dictatorial Augurs—once thought of almost as gods—were overthrown and wiped out during the conflict, their much-feared powers mysteriously failing them. Those who had ruled under them, men and women with a lesser ability known as the Gift, avoided the Augurs’ fate only by submitting themselves to the rebellion’s Four Tenets. A representation of these laws is now written into the flesh of any who use the Gift, forcing those so marked into absolute obedience.

As a student of the Gifted, Davian suffers the consequences of a war fought—and lost—before he was born. Despised by most beyond the school walls, he and those around him are all but prisoners as they attempt to learn control of the Gift. Worse, as Davian struggles with his lessons, he knows that there is further to fall if he cannot pass his final tests.

But when Davian discovers he has the ability to wield the forbidden power of the Augurs, he sets into motion a chain of events that will change everything. To the north, an ancient enemy long thought defeated begins to stir. And to the west, a young man whose fate is intertwined with Davian’s wakes up in the forest, covered in blood and with no memory of who he is…

Why it sounds awesome:

  • Epicness!
  • Forbidden power that character wields anyway. Do I spy a chosen one trope? Because then: Yes, please!

Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan

At age eighteen, when they become marriageable, all royal children in the Thousand Kingdoms must either go questing to rescue another royal or be hidden away to await rescue themselves. Some go the traditional route of princes rescuing princesses, but not all princes want to be rescuers…and some would rather rescue other princes.

Then there’s Prince Gerald, who has no interest in getting married at all. When he refuses to choose a role as either rescuer or rescuee, his royal parents choose for him and have him magicked away to a distant tower to await a spouse.

Gerald, however, is having none of it. He recruits his guardian dragon and a would-be rescuer and soon the trio is dashing to all corners of the united kingdoms on a quest to overturn the entire system.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • It reminds me of Shrek… Sounds like it also pokes fun at the whole “rescue the princess from the tower” trope. And also gender-bending it.
  • Guardian dragon!

The Goblin Emporor by Katherine Addison

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.
Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.
Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne–or his life.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • Well, most of the Wyrd and Wonder community seemed to love it during the readalong. I was unable to read it with them but I’m now sure I want to get to it in the future.
  • Court intrigue!!

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • Mental health!
  • Sounds like it hurts to read (which for me is a good thing)
  • Contemporary story with fantasy elements

I used to be pretty good at keeping my TBR quite small, but during Wyrd and Wonder, you guys just kept writing about amazing books I’d never heard of before. So THANK YOU! Are any of these books also on your TBR or are you lucky enough to have already read them?

Posted in Fun Lists

Books I Recently Added to My TBR: Wyrd and Wonder Edition (Part 1)

“The market coiled like a colored snake through the streets of Dale, patterned with the brown of the stalls, and the yellows and greens and reds of the things they sold.”

First line in The Ash-born Boy by Victoria Schwab

Hi, guys. I don’t know about you, but Wyrd and Wonder has officially made my TBR into a murder weapon. I can’t imagine it won’t be the death of me. I’ve added so many books to it this past month that I had to make this into a 2-part thing so not to overwhelm you.

Just quickly want to mention that not every book on this list has been found in actual Wyrd and Wonder posts. It’s really a list of all the fantasy books I added to my TBR during May. Let’s get started!

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic, created to be the wife of a man who dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free.

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • Historical fantasy set in New York but with Middle Eastern vibes
  • From reviews I can gather that it has sort of a whimsical writing style with a focus on characters
  • It has been nominated for several awards including a Nebula.

The Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • A historical fantasy set in Mexico is not something I’ve ever read before
  • Any time the fantasy element is based on floklore, I’m in.
  • The three words in the synopsis: “strangely alluring god”. Need I say more?

A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden

To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcneas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind–the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning–the Old Ways versus the New–and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?

Why it sounds awesome:

  • It’s partly set in my own country (Denmark)!! I guess mostly people from other small countries will understand my excitement lol. I just need to read it!
  • It’s too reminiscent of the tv show Vikings to pass out on.

I quickly want to shout out and thank Alex from Space and Spellships for bringing this book to my attention. It was featured in the Europe-part of his SFF World Tour, which I highly recommend you check out, especially if you’re on the lookout for books set outside your typical European setting.


Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan

England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs.

But a great light casts a great shadow.

In hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court: Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above. In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few.

Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones. When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham’s. His discovery of the “hidden player” in English politics will test Lune’s loyalty and Deven’s courage alike. Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae? For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana’s power—find it, and break it…

Why it sounds awesome:

  • The Tudor period (no, you don’t need further explanantion)
  • The fact that I had to Google the name “Walsingham” to see whether it was a real name/person (it was)
  • Behind-the-scenes-politics and mixing it with fae

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

A masterful epic of magic, politics, war, and the power of love and hate—from the renowned author of The Fionavar Tapestry and Children of Earth and Sky.

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered…

But years after the devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embark upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name…Tigana.

Against the magnificently rendered background of a world both sensuous and barbaric, this sweeping epic of a passionate people pursuing their dream is breathtaking in its vision, changing forever the boundaries of fantasy fiction.

Why is sounds awesome:

  • An evil king and people on a quest to save the world
  • Kay seems to be considered a must-read fantasy author

The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley

On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin.

As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler is tasked with holding together a country fractured by civil war, a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

Through tense alliances and devastating betrayal, the Dhai and their allies attempt to hold against a seemingly unstoppable force as enemy nations prepare for a coming together of worlds as old as the universe itself.

In the end, one world will rise – and many will perish.

Why it sounds awesome:

  • Diverse world
  • A cast of several interesting characters

Making these lists always makes me wish I was able to read a 100 books at once. Why have I not mastered that skill yet?!? I can only hope that I’ll be able to read all of these books soon. Do any of these books also appear on your TBR? Or are you lucky enough to have already read them?

Posted in Book Tags

5 Star Fantasy Books in 5 Words

“Place ten dozen hungry orphan thieves in a bank burrow of vaults and tunnels beneath what used to be a graveyard, put them under the supervision of one partly crippled old man, and you will soon find that governing them becomes a delicate business.”

First line in Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Hi, guys. 5 star books in 5 words was originally created by Matthew Sciarappa over on Youtube and is actually a really fun tag. I’ve seen it around a lot as part of Wyrd and Wonder already and wanted to add my version. The rules are:

  • Pick 5 books you rated 5 stars.
  • Describe your love for each book by picking 5 words.
  • Don’t explain the words. To those who haven’t read the books, it might not make sense.

Since it’s Wyrd and Wonder month, I’ve of course chosen 5 fantasy books so let’s get to it!

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Hell – Books – Friendships – Hero – Authors

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Doors – Volumes – Feelings – Honey – Destiny

Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Clocks – Spirit – London – Anxiety – Damage

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Light – Politics – Spren – Bridge – Swords

Half Bad by Sally Green

Witch – You – Heritage – Captivity – Betrayal

Were you able to make any sense of that? Well, it was fun to do so if you fancy doing it yourself, feel free to consider yourself tagged.

Posted in Fun Lists

Brilliant Debut Fantasy Books (Wyrd and Wonder)

“The circus arrives without warning.”

First line in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hi, guys. As you may know, it’s not the easiest thing to write a book. Several authors just has to find their footing when starting out. Others write true masterpieces in their first try like it’s no big deal, and it’s those I want to highlight today.

Most of the books I’ll mention here are bestsellers but what they all have in common is that they are the first book published by their author. And they are all fantasy, of course. They are all some of my favorite books so enjoy!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Dreams and reality blend together in The Night Circus in which Morgenstern shows that there are no limitations to our imagination. Especially not to hers. Through stunning writing, she unfolds the story of a magical duel that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

A highly detailed world is the backdrop for some ingenious criminal activities that will have you rooting for the perpetrators. Not for the faint-hearted, this book gives you a dark and gritty atmosphere but will still shine some light in form of true acts of friendship.

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

The Library of the Unwritten provides a story with a unique concept where book characters are able to come alive, otherwise known as every reader’s dream come true. It’s an emotional story about a battle between Heaven and Hell that also gives you deep and flawed characters to love with all of your heart.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

An urban fantasy story that still gives you comprehensive world building with a creative magic system. Clare introduces the reader to the world of the Shadowhunters that has all the monsters but also the most swoon worthy romances.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind tells the first part of the character Kvothe’s life story through an immersive writing style. With the promise of an epic tale to come, Rothfuss sets several plot points in motion in this first book in a trilogy.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Step into the Trojan war through this retelling of the lives of the almighty Achilles and his friend Patroclus. Told through the eyes of Patroclus, Miller weaves a beautiful story about true love and destiny that will intrique anyone with an interest in Greek mythology.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A high-stakes adventure inspired by ancient Rome that follows the slave, Laia, as she fights a brutal system to save her brother. Sabaa Tahir doesn’t hold back when depicting the horrors of this cruel world, and it will have the reader on the edge of their seat all the way through.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon is a must-read for anyone who can’t get enough of dragons. Paolini has crafted a vast world with interesting characters (and dragons) which gives the reader a highly entertaining reading experience.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

A highly atmospheric read that take a closer look at small town mentality when children start disappearing and the stranger in the village is the only suspect. Schwab provides at fairy tale-esque writing style when telling this gripping story about witches and magic rooted in nature.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale will transport the reader to a snow-covered forrest in Russia with its vivid depictions of nature and atmosphere. Following the girl Vasya as she grows up, Arden explores Russian folklore but gives it a fantasy twist.

These are just a few of the awesome fantasy debuts out there. I haven’t read everything so please share your favorites in the comments if you feel they’re missing from the list. Happy reading!

Posted in Discussions

My Experiences Being a Fantasy Reader in a World Looking Down Upon the Genre

“The day was grey and bitter cold, and the dogs would not take the scent.”

First line in A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

Hi, guys. I know the headline might be a tad dramatic but I really just wanted to talk about some of the experiences I’ve had as a fantasy reader and try to reflect on them. You see, I’ve been reading fantasy books since the age of 10 when I picked up Harry Potter. As a child I never wanted to read any other genre. The things we read in school that weren’t fantasy confirmed that belief.

However, when I was about 14, I could tell that that wasn’t okay anymore. You see, fantasy is for children and when you grow older you’re meant to develop an interest in “real life” books. I noticed this change when visiting the school library and my teachers would try to pull me towards the non-fantasy shelves. “Aren’t you ready to try something other than fantasy?” they would ask. I would get similar comments from family members: “You’re still reading fantasy? Still Harry Potter?” said in that condescending way. So naturally I started to feel embaressed about it. I stopped talking about reading as one of my passions because that would always prompt the question of what I liked to read. I still only read fantasy but I just didn’t talk about it to avoid being seen as “the weird one” or “the nerd”.

That was pretty much my life until a few years ago when I discovered BookTube and the online book community in general. Suddenly I’m watching SO. MANY. PEOPLE talking about their love for fantasy books. It was also new for me to see women talking about fantasy, and that made a huge difference in my life. It felt empowering in the way that I was no longer alone in my obsession. It gave me the confidence I needed to just embrace my love of reading and not be afraid to talk about it. I no longer felt weird.

Does this mean that everything is just perfect now and people are accepting the fantasy genre? Not exactly but there has been a shift with the huge success of the Game of Thrones show. We were finally the cool people! Game of Thrones really managed to showcase all the merits of fantasy and how it isn’t just escapism, and that opened many people’s eyes to the possibilities within the genre. Just look at how many fantasy books are being adapted into movies and shows at the moment (it’s a lot!).

This is all very good and definitely a huge step in the right direction, but to go back to my own experiences, I still see so many people dismissing the genre. As I now talk more openly about my love of reading, I often get the weird look from people who don’t understand how an adult can talk so passionately about magic. I don’t let it bother me anymore but it’s still there.

Finally, I also just want to highlight some of the problems of being a fantasy reader in Denmark. Now, I read my books in English because that’s what I’m most comfortable with but the fact is that I don’t have a choice. Or rather, other Danes don’t have a choice because very, very few fantasy books get translated into Danish. Only the most popular books get a translation and of those it’s mainly YA books. As an example: the only adult Brandon Sanderson book that has been translated is The Way of Kings. Not Mistborn. Not Warbreaker. The entire Wheel of Time series hasn’t been translated either. Those are some of the best and most fundamental books within the genre that aren’t available to non-English speaking Danes.

I just want to clarify that Danes are able to speak English quite well, but I’ve still met many who find it intimidating to read an entire book in English. Fantasy isn’t exactly the easiest genre anyway. So the lack of translations have an impact on how many people are reading the genre. On top of that, not very many Danish fantasy books are published. And those that are, are so far away from any Bestseller list that they could never dream of hitting them. So there you have your vicious circle. Of course publishers aren’t going to spent money translating books in a genre that doesn’t sell very well. The surge in popularity fantasy books otherwise have experienced hasn’t reached Denmark. We only read murder mysteries here.

I can’t help but get the feeling that our society treats the fantasy genre as less than others, and the result is the shame I felt as a child for reading it anyway. I’m sure a lot of other people has felt the same way and I really want that to change. Fantasy is an amazing genre that can explore so many relevant issues and have just as much literary merit as any other genre.

So what is the solution? It’s difficult to change societal opinions on your own but that is not an excuse to do nothing. I will set the goal for myself to read at least 5 fantasy books by Danish authors by the end of the year. It will require some research on my part because I can’t mention a single adult fantasy book by a Danish author right now. I will also have to overcome my dislike of reading in Danish but I want to view this as an opportunity to find so many more amazing books. And then I want to talk about them! Maybe that will make just a little difference.

Now, I can of course only talk about the situation in Denmark but I would love to know if you’ve experienced something similar in your own country, especially if you’re from a non-English speaking one. Is fantasy a popular genre where you live? Have you experienced your own kind of stigmatization for reading fantasy? Do you think there’s an incresing acceptance of the genre? Chat with me in the comments.

Posted in Wrap up

August Reading Wrap Up

“The king of Attolia was passing through his city, on his way to the port to great ambassadors newly arrived from distant parts of the world.”

First line in A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

August is over so here is my reading wrap up for the month. I finished 5 books which is pretty much my average. Besides these 5 books, I also started The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and I’m about 300 pages into that. I probably won’t be able to finish it before I have to return it to the library, so it will be a while before it shows up in a wrap up as finished. I’m really enjoying it though! But enough of that, let’s get onto the books I managed to complete. The first one is another Sanderson novel because why not.

The Alloy of Law (Book 1 in Mistborn: The Alloy Era)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis: Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.

One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.

After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.

Goodreads

My thoughts

I don’t think I like westerns. At first, I found this book super interesting because of how the world had evolved since we left it in Hero of Ages. It’s a fantasy world where they actually managed to invent stuff like electricity and guns. It showed how the world is progressing instead of just showing a finished product. I found the plot somewhat underwhelming for a Sanderson novel which is why my rating is a little low. If you want more of my thoughts on The Alloy of Law, I have a full review right here.

A Conspiracy of Kings (Book 4 in The Queen’s Thief)

Author: Megan Whalen Turner

Genre: YA fantasy

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: After an attempted assassination and kidnapping, Sophos, heir to the throne of Sounis, disappears. Those who care for him—including the thief Eugenides and the Queen of Eddis—are left to wonder if he is alive and if they will ever see him again.

Goodreads

My thoughts

It felt so good to be back in this world. And we get to see Sophos again after he’s been gone since book 1. I really enjoyed reading from his perspective, so I didn’t mind an absent Eugenides for most of the book. The first half the book was definitely my favorite because that’s really where we got to know Sophos a bit better. The more political plotline took over in the latter half and I wasn’t as impressed with it as I’ve been in the previous books.

I’ll Give You the Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Genre: YA contemporary

My rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Jude and her twin Noah are close until a tragedy drives them apart. Now they are barely speaking – and both are falling for boys they can’t have. Love’s complicated.

Goodreads

My thoughts

A very sweet story that I imagine many people can somewhat relate to if they have a sibling. Jude and Noah are so different and yet so similar that it was really heartwarming to see them grow. It’s very much a story about grief and different ways of dealing with it. And not dealing with it. I don’t have any experiences of my own that could relate to what Jude and Noah went through and I think that made my experience of this book a little different that others. I felt detached from the story when I think I was supposed to cry. Odd feeling really but that is why this is not a 5-star book. I think it will be just that to others.  

The Eye of the World (Book 1 in The Wheel of Time)

Author: Robert Jordan

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Yeah, that’s not really possible without spoiling stuff. Even the Goodreads page doesn’t tell you much.

My thoughts

I’m a bit conflicted. I loved the beginning of this book and the potential it presented. I imagined so many possible plot lines that just didn’t end up happening. That meant that the first 200-300 pages had me hooked and I couldn’t put the book down. Then it became very, very dull. I might go insane if I read another page-long description of an insignificant inn. That leads me to my main problem with the book: the writing style. It’s so not me. I don’t mind when books are slow paced as long as the time is spent depicting character emotions and thought processes. Jordan spends more time on buildings, clothes and general surroundings which I just don’t care about.

I still gave the book a bit of a high rating because I’m really intrigued about the world and I want to learn more about the magic. The characters are also very good and realistic with much room for development in the next 13 books (!).   

Station Eleven

Author: Emily St. John Mandel

Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction/Fiction (I don’t know what to call this!)

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Goodreads

My thoughts

This a case of a hyped book not living up the hype for me. It’s a fine book and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn’t make me feel anything spectacular. I liked the way the collapse of civilization was described. It was done in a way that was connected to characters and I thought that was very inspiring. We follow a lot of characters and I liked pretty much everyone but I didn’t love them, so that kept me a bit detached. I plan to have a review up for this very soon and I hope my thoughts will be a little more clear and constructed by then.

That’s it for my reading in August. It was very much a 4 star month for me. Pretty much all the books were around that rating. It’s been a while since I’ve read a 5 star and I’m feeling the desperation creeping up. Next month, I’m participating in Sequel September which was created by Kathy from Books and Munches and hopefully that will give me a 5 star book. If you’re interested in knowing what I’m reading, my TBR is right here.