Saturday, 28 December 2019

My 2019 4 star reads

Hello booklovers

Very long time no see, it's been almost three months since I last wrote a post. I just haven't felt like posting anything lately... I'm going to give it one more try, I guess and see where it leads me. I want to write more reviews, but they are so time-consuming and school has been really hectic with all the changes there have been.
Anyway, I thought of doing a top 10 of 2019 but when I started looking at my GR list of read books, I had a hard time narrowing it down to 10 books. So, instead of a top 10, I'm going to list my 4, 4.5 and 5 star reads of this year.
These books are in no particular order and they weren't necessarily published in 2019.
*Shadowblack (Spellinslinger #2) by Sebastien de Castell
I reread Spellslinger so I could read this one (even though I'd only read it back in April), because I wasn't totally invested in the story the first time I read it. After having enjoyed it a lot more the second time around I didn't wait very long to read Shadowblack. I really liked this one and I already have book three Charmcaster on hand.
*The Black Prism (Lightbringer #1) and The Broken Eye (Lightbringer #3) by Brent Weeks
I have been meaning to read a Brent Weeks book for a while now. I've had the first book in his Night Angels trilogy on my TBR for years. But I decided to try his Lightbringer series first.
So far, I've read three out of the five books in this series and even though I'm sometimes confused when reading them I'm really enjoying them as well.
*The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4) and The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson
I really love the Mistborn Era 1 trilogy and was really curious to read the Era 2 books. They aren't as good as the original trilogy, but I still enjoyed being back in this world. And the humour is again very good. I thought this was a trilogy, but apparently, a fourth book has been announced.
*Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) by John Gwynne
This is another one that I've had on my TBR for ages. I started it a couple of years ago, but I couldn't really get into it (I don't have the audiobook for this one, so it was taking me ages to make any progress) but in August I decided to give it another try. And I'm so happy that I did. I even went and bought the rest of the series after finishing this one. Malice is perfect for fans of the more classic fantasy writing style.
These were all the fantasy books that were 4 star reads.
The other two 4 star reads were an adult dystopian and a New Adult contemporary:
*The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
I watched the first two seasons of the TV-show before reading this so I had some idea of the bleakness of the story being told here, but wow, the book painted an ever bleaker version of that possible future. I'll be picking up The Testaments when it's released in paperback.
*Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen
I've read quite a few books by Elle Kennedy, but I hadn't read anything that she co-wrote with Sarina Bowen yet. This is also only the second M/M romance that I've read and I have to admit I liked it a lot. My biggest fear when reading M/M romance is that it will be cringe-worthy, but that's definitely not the case in this story. I'm definitely going to pick up the sequel at some point.
What were some of your 4 star reads this year? Let me know in the comments.
Bye for now

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

WWW Wednesday - 2nd October / September wrap-up

Hi booklovers

"Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!"

I found this on Nadine's blog.

The Three Ws are: 
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading
I picked up Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson a couple of days ago. It's really nice to be back in the Mistborn universe. I'm on page 127 and I'm loving the humour in this :-)
This is one of the trilogies I want to finish before the end of 2019.

Recently finished
At the very beginning of September I finished Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. This book was my least favourite of the trilogy because I was very confused while reading it. I gave it 3.75 stars.
Another finished trilogy to check off my list :-)

I also finished The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks. I really enjoyed this and I can't wait to continue with the series.
I gave this 4.5 stars.

The third book I finished in September was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. I was scared going into this because I'd seen some very heavy reactions to the ending and I also didn't want the story to end. It was an emotional read (although, I didn't get emotional over the same chapter that most of the other readers did :-) ) but I loved it. I love how Jay used a lot of sarcasm to mock all the criticism about his writing style. He definitely doesn't take himself serious.
This is a trilogy I'll definitely reread in the future.
A very definite 5 star read.

The last book I read in September was The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I wanted to read something completely different after finishing DD, so I went for this.
Phew, this book paints such a scary image of the future (I knew what to expect since I've already watched the first two seasons of the tv-show).
It's a well-written book, but the format is a bit difficult sometimes because it jumps 'timelines' quite frequently.
I'm a bit sorry that I didn't read this before watching the show, because there are quite a few differences between the book and the show :-s
I'll definitely pick up The Testaments.
I gave this 4 stars. Alternating between the physical and the audiobook (narrated by the actress who plays Offred in the tv-show) made it a quicker read.

What's next?
I don't really do TBRs, so picking my next read(s) pretty much always depends on my mood.
Here are some of the possible choices: Valour by John Gwynne, The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks, Northern Lights by Philip Pullman or Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell.

What are you currently reading, have you recently finished or will you pick up next? Tell me in the comments.

Bye for now


Saturday, 31 August 2019

June - August 2019 book haul

Hi booklovers

I just realised I never posted a June book haul, so I'll just include it in my August haul.

At the end of June I rewarded myself with a trip to my local Waterstones and an independent English bookstore (Sterling books) and these are the 10 books that I got:

*The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
*Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend
*Shadows of Self and The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
*The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks
*Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
*Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
*Fool's Errand by Robin Hobb
*Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames
*Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I managed to restrain myself from buying any books in July, but that restraint fell away when I went to those same bookstores with two friends at the beginning of August.
The ones on the right I got for €25 in total in the bargain section of two Fnac shops.

*Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
*The Deathless by Peter Newman
*Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
*Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
*Sabriel by Garth Nix
*The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
*Valour, Ruin and Wrath by John Gwynne
*The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks

I know I said I needed to get my TBR down by the end of the year but every now and then I totally fall off the wagon and buy a lot of books :-s

Are there any here that I should put higher on my TBR? Which books did you get in the previous month(s)? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Wednesday, 28 August 2019

WWW Wednesday - 28th August / August wrap-up

Hi booklovers

"Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!"

I found this on Nadine's blog.

The Three Ws are: 
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading
Being on a mission to actually finish the trilogies/series that I start, I picked up Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.
I've reviewed both books 1 and 2 (click on the numbers to go to the reviews).
I'm currently on page 270 and I'm enjoying it (at least this time I know that '5 years earlier' means that the whole chapter is set in the past) but I'm not sure where the story is going.

Recently finished
At the beginning of August I finished Malice by John Gwynne. I enjoyed it a lot and you can find my review here.

After all those big fantasy books I was in the mood for some quicker reads so I picked up Getting Down and Hooking Up by Helena Hunting. I really enjoyed both with HU being my favourite of the Shacking Up series so far. Lexington is just so cute, caring and sexy AF.

After that I started and finished my reread of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I still absolutely love this book and I'm not ready for this story to end.

I also decided to reread Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell because I finally want to continue with the series. I loved this just as much as the first time around and I'm very much looking forward to reading book two: Knight's Shadow.

Then I picked up I Flipping Love You, book three in the Shacking Up series. I enjoyed this, but not as much as Hooking Up.

The last book I finished was Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I liked it, but didn't love it. I had very high hopes for this one since The Illuminae Files is one my favourite trilogies. I think I might have compared it a little too much to those books. I'm curious enough to continue on with the next book, though.

What's next?
In September Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff comes out, so I'll be reading that as soon as it arrives :-)

I also want to pick up Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell, maybe after I finish Emperor of Thorns, we'll see.

Oh, btw, I kind of gave up on my NEWTs, I just wasn't feeling it. I have completed a couple of prompts, but not that many. Ah well, maybe I'll do better next year.

How's your reading been this month? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Saturday, 24 August 2019

Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell - non-spoiler review

Hi booklovers

Today I'll be reviewing Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell. This is book 1 in the Greatcoats series.
I first read this book about a year ago, but I never got around to reading book 2, Knight's Shadow. Because I finally want to continue with the series I thought a reread of book 1 might not be a bad idea, so that's what I did. (Apparently, I never got around to writing a review last year either.)

One of the first things I noticed in this book is that it has a lot of humour. I was actually laughing from the very start of this book. That's something I like a lot in books, humour and sarcasm.

This book follows the story of Falcio val Mond, First Cantor of the Greatcoats. The Greatcoats used to be a group of elite soldiers who served the king. However, they have been disbanded after the king was murdered and now they are mockingly called 'tatter-cloaks'. Through the eyes of Falcio we get to see how he and his two best friends try to continue to do the honourable thing and speak justice, but since this is a story full of intrigue and plotting, you can imagine this is easier said than done. We follow the three along their path to more or less restoring the idea of the Greatcoats, but their journey is full of twists and turns.

Another thing I liked in this book is the friendship. The friendship dynamics between Falcio, Brasti and Kest is wonderful. They each have very different personalities; Falcio being the 'brains', Brasti a cocky archer and Kest a level-headed - but extremely good, if not the best - sword-fighter. But they fit very well together. These friendship dynamics remind me of the friendships in The Lies of Locke Lamora.

This book is fast-paced, action-packed and has some incredible fight scenes. And, like I said, it has a lot of humour strewn in, which makes the sometimes dark atmosphere a little 'lighter'. This is a very good example of how humour can help people through even the most horrific events.

Even though this book has only one POV, we get to know the other characters pretty well too. There are some characters I really liked: the dynamic trio, Aline, the Tailor. There were also a few I really disliked (which means that they are written so well that you have to dislike them).

Knight's Shadow will be one of the next books I'm going to pick up, because the revelation at the end has made me very curious to see how the story will continue!

Have you read this book or his Spellinger series? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Wednesday, 14 August 2019

King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence - non-spoiler review

Hi booklovers

Today I bring you my review of book two in the Broken Empire trilogy by Mark Lawrence - King of Thorns. You can find my review for book one here
This review might contain spoilers for book 1.

(Read on to see my opinion of this book change - in a positive way - while writing this review. I wrote this review shortly after finishing the book, I just now got around to posting it.)

This is a very hard book to rate. It's been a couple of days since I finished it and immediately after finishing it I rated it 3 stars. But now that I've had some time to let it sink in I'm leaning more towards 4 stars.

Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book even though at first I found it very confusing as well. It took me nearly 20 chapters to figure out that when a chapter said 'four years earlier' it meant the whole chapter was set in the past. I'm completely blaming this on the fact that English is not my first language and the fact that I was listening to the audiobook. (I'm NOT saying the audiobook was bad, because I love the narrator. Sometimes it's harder to follow a story through the audiobook than when you're physically reading a book.) Anyway, having established this, the fact that the story alternates between the past and the present is something that makes the writing simultaneously interesting and confusing. (Or maybe that's just me *shrugs*)

Most of the book tells us about what happened to Jorg and his band of brothers in the four years that have passed since defeating his uncle. Those are the 'past' chapters and they form one storyline.

The second storyline is called 'Wedding day' and is set in the present time. In these chapters we follow Jorg - who's now 18 - on his wedding day. We quickly find out it's not your ordinary kind of wedding day because they're under attack, which kind of hinders normal wedding day procedures!

We also get a third storyline in the form of Katherines - Jorgs aunt who he has been lusting over ever since meeting her - journal entries. She provides a different perspective on Jorg and what happens with the prince of Arrow.

The past chapters fill us in on what has happened in the four years that have passed. A lot of those things lead up to certain events happening in the present day. It was great to see how all those events came together towards the end of the book.

Even though Jorg is still one of the most morally grey characters I've read about, I can't help but symphathise with him and his cause. He is one of those characters that goes through a ton of growth throughout the stories. In the first book he is this extremely self-centered young boy who's only intent on killing and revenge. In this book he really starts to change, going from being very egotistical to actually thinking about other people. He no longer kills just for killing's sake, he actually stops and thinks about his actions once in a while. This doesn't mean he's no longer a bloody bastard, btw!!

Because everything is centered around Jorg the other characters aren't all that fleshed out. We don't really get their backgrounds. Except for Katherine, who we get to know through her journal entries. She wasn't my favourite character!

The book has some forms of magic, but they aren't overly present troughout the whole story. There's fire magic and necromancy, but we still don't fully know how they work or what the limitations are.

The reason I didn't like it as much as the first book at first because I didn't feel as connected to the characters. I was also missing the sarcasm of the first book. But, you know what, the more I think about it and while writing this review, the more I realise I actually like this story a lot and I'm curious to what will happen in Emperor of Thorns.
Have you read this one or any other book by Lawrence? What did you think of it/them? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Friday, 9 August 2019

Intimidating TBR tag

Hi booklovers

This is a tag that I've wanted to do for a while now, so here we are.
I can't for the life of me remember where I found this tag or who the creator is.


1. What book have you been unable to finish? 
*The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I gave this book two tries, but I have to admit this series just isn't for me.
2. What book have you yet to read because you just haven't had the time? 
There are actually a few books on my TBR that I haven't gotten around to reading because of lack of time (and they are huge):
*The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
*The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett
*Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
3. What book have you yet to read because it's a sequel? 
Again, I have a couple of sequels I need to get to:
*The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks
*Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
*Knight' Shadow by Sebastien de Castell
*Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
4. What book have you yet to read because it's brand new? 
*Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
5. What book have you yet to read because you read a book by the same author and didn't enjoy it? 
I can' t think of any at the moment.

6. What book have you yet to read because you're just not in the mood for it? 
Even though I'm a mood reader I can't think of one either.

7. What book have you yet to read because it's humongous? 
*The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
This beast of a book is 650 pages long and has a ton of characters.

8. What book have you yet to read because because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews? 
No idea, I don't often buy books just for the cover, so...

9. What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?
Besides The Red Knight, I think it has to be: 
*Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
What are some of your more intimidating reads on your TBR? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Malice by John Gwynne - non-spoiler review

Hi booklovers

I've been putting off reading Malice by John Gwynne for the longest time :-s
I first started this book at the end of August 2015 and it took me 1 month shy of four years to pick it back up after putting it down after only a couple of chapters.
The main reasons for not picking this back up sooner were that it is 600+ pages and I couldn't find the audiobook anywhere (Audible only has the Italian versions and Scribd doesn't have anything from this author). So, I was extremely intimidated by it. There are a lot of characters and the first time I picked it up I didn't get to sit down and read for longer periods of time (the beginning of the school year is always a busy time), so I just couldn't get into the story.

During the last couple of months, some of the people I've started talking to on IG told me about how wonderful this series is and how much they enjoyed it and I became intrigued again.

Being on my summer break I thought this would be the perfect time to give it another try.

So, after this long and rambly introduction, let's get to the review (I'm not going to give a synopsis, if you click on the name of the book, you'll go to the Goodreads synopsis):

At first I had to take notes to keep track of all the characters that are introduced. You get different POVs and they also encounter other characters, so it can be a bit confusing and daunting at first. But by the time I got to about chapter 10 I got the hang of it :-) 
I really had to adjust to the fact that I couldn't simply alternate between the audiobook and the physical copy. However, it didn't take very long for the story to really grab me. Sure, this story has some very classical fantasy elements: young boy destined to become 'more', good vs evil (based on angels vs demons), fighting for the throne, betrayal, alliances being formed … but they are executed well.

Because there are a lot of characters I'm not going to go into detail about all of them, but I do want to mention some of my favourite ones or ones that stood out to me:

Corban: His is one of the POVs we get in this story and through him we get to know a lot of other characters as well. At the beginning of the story he is 14 and I liked how we got to see him grow and change from this scared boy into a more courageous youth trying to find his path/place in life. Even in this first book we already find out that there's more to him than meets the eye.
I'm looking forward to seeing his story progress and develop.

Cywen: She's Corbans sister (we also get her POV) and she's a feisty one. She's a bit older than Corban and she hates the fact that girls aren't allowed to fight. So she tries to stand her ground as much as possible by SPOILER (select the text if you want to read the spoiler.) learning how to throw knives from her mother. She becomes extremely good at this, which is proven throughout the story a couple of times.

Edana: She's the daughter of King Brenin and Queen Alona. She doesn't have her own POV, but we get to know her story through Corban and Cywens POVs.
The princess befriends Cywen and Corban. Edana is a very down-to-earth character who doesn't look down her nose at others. I'm looking forward to seeing what else Gwynne has got in store for her.

Veradis: He is the second (I think) son of Lamar, Baron of Ripa. Veradis joins prince Nathairs warband and he quickly becomes his trusted 'bodyguard'. Veradis is sometimes a little naïve and he blindly believes everything Nathair says or does. He would give his life to protect the prince without a second thought.
He has his own POV and through him we get to know prince Nathair: At first this was a character I really liked. He's young, charismatic and he has refreshing ideas about battle and warfare. These ideas often go against what his father - King Aquilus - thinks and believes. But at some point in the story something happens which causes him to change completely and I don't trust him anymore. There's a weird atmosphere about him. (Thinking of him not as a character but as someone real proves what a well-written character he is.)

Gar: He is one of my absolute favourite characters of this first book. He is Corbans fathers stablemaster who is like a second father to Corban and Cywen. He's the one who teaches Corban how to use a sword. As with Corban there is much more than meets the eye with Gar, because we still don't know a whole lot about him.

Brina: She's King Brenins healer. Because of a bet, Corban has a sort of debt to pay and he becomes her 'apprentice'. Damn, this is a cranky old woman, but she's also a very fun character. I don't know who she reminds me of from other fantasy stories, but I like this sort of character a lot.

SPOILER: (about the characters in general) it's best not to get too attached to the characters, because from the first book some of the ones I was rooting for get killed off :-(

There is already some worldbuilding, because we have different kingdoms ruled by different monarchs, but I'm hoping to see a lot more of it in the following books.

Another intriguing aspect of the story is the appearance of giants. They don't play a huge part yet, but they do determine some things already.

I'm very happy that I decided to give it another try and I'll be definitely picking up the next one soon.
Have you read this or any other books in the Faithful and the Fallen series? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now