The Bear and the Nightingale | Katherine Arden | a review

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine ArdenEver since I devoured Catherynne M Valente’s Deathless, I’ve been on the look out for good literary adult fairytale-esque stories steeped with folklore and simmering with magic. I think The Bear and the Nightingale delivers. Set deep in the Russian countryside, we follow Vasilisa (immediately a nod to Russian folklore) from her birth to the
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Mythos | Stephen Fry | a review

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold by Stephen Fry

I’m always a bit skeptical when new Greek mythology books are released as they are all too often factual exploratory analyses of the myths, breaking down the meaning or impact rather than actually telling me (or retelling!) the actual stories. And so it was with no small sense of trepidation that I began Mythos. I am so glad I did as it proved to be exactly what I’ve been searching for.

What makes this retelling of Greek myths different from all the others that I have collected over the years is the coherent chronology Continue reading

2017 Reading Wrap Up

Happy 2018! I hope you’ve all enjoyed a lovely festive break and haven’t had too hard a shock to your system by getting back to work.

2017 was a bit of a mixed bag for me, looking back I don’t feel like that many books stand out. I read a lot of average books this year, which is a bit disappointing. However, there are a few good things to discuss. My Goodreads Reading Challenge was 150 books and while some months I totally beat the target, others I slumped and there was a time when I thought I wouldn’t make it. I’m happy I managed 151 in the end but I’m not really using a high target going forward as I think the pressure made me read too many average books. Yet powering through made me realise that my tastes have developed again, I’ve moved away from YA and embraced Regency Romances and more Urban Fantasy with Fantasy in general remaining as my numero uno genre. Continue reading

My 2017 Favourites | Book List 2 of 2

As I was unable to keep myself from only writing a few sentences about my top 10 reads of 2017, here is my second round of favourite books of the year. If you would like to see the other half, check out my first post here. In no particular order….

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

I enjoyed this one so much I was unable to write a decent review when I first read it, so I will try my best to describe why you need to read this book here. The Ninth Rain has everything a fantasy book should have Continue reading

My 2017 Favourites | Book List 1 of 2

I can’t believe it’s this time of year already! This year has flown by and looking back, it hasn’t been the greatest reading year for me. Despite discovering the beauty of audiobooks, and several new genres, not many books stand out as really brilliant. As I browsed my Goodreads Reading Challenge I made a note of the ones I loved and as luck would have it, (as what is a favourites list if it does not contain 10 items?) I ended up with 10 wonderful novels. I thought I’d be able to squeeze them into one post, but alas, as each book came up I got so excited I had to write more. If you would like to check out Book List 2 of 2, you can do here. So, in no particular order here is part one of my favourite reads of 2017… Continue reading

A Time of Dread | John Gwynne | a review

A Time of Dread

First of all, a huge thank you to Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in advance. It was brilliant. Exactly the kind of fantasy I live for.

Now before I get started, I must confess that this is my first John Gwynne novel. His debut, Malice , was next on my pile to read when I was approved for this beauty so I thought I’d start here. Although I don’t regret it, I do feel like I have missed a lot of cool references to characters of his first series, The Faithful and the Fallen. For that reason, I found the first half of the book fairly slow, as new characters are introduced, the world explained and tales of the original heroes are told. There are a lot of talks and hints about previous characters which I am sure long time readers of Gwynne will love, I just wanted to get started with the new ones. Saying that, the slow start was necessary to making this book (and presumably, series) readable for those who are new to Gwynne and this world, me included. Now I don’t mind a slow pace so this did not put me off reading, but I wasn’t as glued to the story as I thought I might have been after the amazing reviews Gwynne already has for his work. However, I did just read the last 50% in one sitting this morning, so I can say with some certainty that this changes. Continue reading

Tigana | Guy Gavriel Kay | a review

Tigana

This is a hard book to review, I am feeling all the feels after that ending. Although not the first Guy Gavriel Kay book I have bought, it is the first of his that I have read after seeing such great reviews from trusted sources on goodreads. And I thought Tigana was excellent. Really, really excellent.

The Peninsula of the Palm comprises of 9 provinces that, after an invasion, are ruled by two rival sorcerers: Brandin, King of Ygrath and Alberico, a warlord from Barbadior. In revenge for the death of his beloved son, Brandin curses the province of Tigana so that no-one remembers its history, culture or can even speak its name, save for those born there before the curse. He also sacks it, renames it and imposes heavy taxes in order to cripple its economy just for good measure. Tigana follows the story of several characters who all desire to see the end of one, or both, of these tyrannical invaders.

Sometimes stand alone fantasy stories Continue reading

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop | Annie Darling | a review

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop

If you’re looking for a fun, romantic read without a simpering heroine or a controlling alpha male and with an Austen-esque twist, this one’s for you.

Verity only needed one bad relationship to prove that love was overrated and she was perfectly happy on her own. If only her friends could see that. Cue Peter Hardy, oceanographer, Very’s fictional boyfriend whose existence is only necessary to get her out of unwanted social obligations. After a misunderstanding in an Italian restaurant, Very ditches one fake boyfriend for another, although this one is very much alive. Johnny also needs someone on his arm to prevent dreary evenings spent at the singles table as he’s desperately in love with a woman he cannot have. Faking a relationship is their perfect solution.

I really enjoyed this novel, I was quickly sucked in by the humour of the first few chapters and enchanted by the well developed side characters. They all felt very real, from Very’s sisters to Continue reading

Kings of the Wyld | Nicholas Eames | a review

Kings of the Wyld, Nicholas Eames“Go get the boss,” says one guardsman to another.

“This bunch looks like trouble.”

I generally avoid super hyped books for fear of disappointment, but Kings of the Wyld is definitely an exception. Who’d have thought a fantasy quest story featuring a ragtag bunch of ageing mercenaries who all have better things to do would be so engrossing?! Despite hearing nothing but rave reviews about it, I was a bit skeptical – surely it can’t be that good? But it is, my friends, it is.

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Murder on the Orient Express | Agatha Christie | a review

agatha christie, Murder on the Orient Express

Is there anything more perfect to pick up on wet, windy, grey days than a cosy Agatha Christie Poirot novel? I’m not new to Christie, I read And Then There Were None last year and thoroughly enjoyed it so I thought it was about time I picked up another one of her classics. Despite being one of Christie’s most loved works, I did not start with over-hyped expectations and felt that I could give it an objective read, although after liking ATTWN so much I did expect to enjoy it, which luckily I did. I must state right at the beginning though, Continue reading