July 2019 Wrap Up

After having a really good reading June, July hit me with a huge reading slump and the worst kind as well. The kind where I really, really craved reading, but nothing I read held my interest for very long. Which especially sucked because I’d really wanted to participate in The Book Junkie Trials and Medieval-a-thon. Which didn’t happen. I read 3 books in July and almost finished a 4th.


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

27827627

I re-read this for the 3rd time. I just can’t get enough of this story. It’s one of my all time favourites and one of those that I can read again and again and again. 5/5 stars

The Graveyard book by Neil Gaiman

5499874

I listened to this on audio and I liked it. I think the audio narration definitely added to the story. But I didn’t love it. it was a 3/5 star read for me and not only because I was in a slump.

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrain Tchaikovsky

29501426

I picked this one up on an impulse. I read Children of Time by the same author and did not like it, but this sounded interesting and nothing at all like the other one. And I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I really loved the world  and the shapeshifting magic system. So cool. I didn’t mesh with the writing style as much as I would have liked, which is why I only gave it 3.75/5 stars, but I’m definitely interested in the rest of the series.

Favourite Fantasy Books – Top 10 Tuesday

I haven’t done a Top 10 Tuesday in AGES. But this week’s topic is top 10 books in your favourite genre and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to talk about my fantasy babies. If you don’t know, Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, though originally it was created by The Broke and the Bookish. So here, we go, ten of my favourite fantasy books! Well… series, for the most part. Because I can’t just recommend one book in the series.


The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence

This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been here for any length of time. I talk about this all the time. You can read my review of it for more details, but it’s basically a series about magical assassin nuns.

The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin

Again, I never shut up about this. It’s amazing, you should read it. It’s about the end of the world and people who can control earthquakes.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

I don’t talk about this one quite as much as the other two, but it probably still doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson. I’m so thankful to whoever it was who introduced me to him (I can’t remember who it was). I’m currently reading The Way of Kings and it might dethrone Mistborn as my favourite Sanderson series, but we’ll see. In case you didn’t know, Mistborn is about a bunch of people trying to steal something and they live in a world where certain metals give people certain abilities.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

One of my all time favourites. Please, please, PLEASE give us book 3 before I die. Please. This is one of the most difficult series to summarise in my opinion, because it sounds so boring when you try to summarise it. This is a frame story following a guy who’s basically a legend and it’s just the story of his life as told by himself after his kind of… fall from grace and presumed death. If that sounds boring… well it isn’t. give it a try. I have reviews of the first two books (Book 1 | Book 2), so check those out if you want to get more of an idea about the series.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I’ve only read the first two books in the series, but there is talk of the fourth one being released soon-ish. So I’m hoping to read the third one soon. This is a series about a band of con-artists. And it’s basically them planning and executing heists and getting themselves into trouble. I love heist stories. They’re so much fun and this is one of the best heist stories I’ve ever encountered. I have reviewed both of the books I’ve read, if you’d like to know more (Book 1 | Book 2).

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I talk about this one a lot less, but I love this duology so much. It’s another heist story. This time it’s YA, but it does remind me a lot of The Lies of Locke Lamora. In vibe, more than anything else. The world, story and characters are very different, but they both have a vibe that I adore. I’ve also reviewed both the books in this series so check those out for more details (Book 1 | Book 2).

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Another one I don’t talk about as much, mainly because it’s not as recent in my mind since it’s been 2 years since the last book came out. But I absolutely love it and I’m so excited to read the conclusion this autumn! This is also about assassins and very much reminds me of The Book of the Ancestor. Again, in vibe, rather than anything else. Reviews of the first two books: Book 1 | Book 2.

The Knots Duology by Amy McCulloch

This is a series that is so tragically underrated and I wish people talked about it more. I read it quite a while ago and I’ve been meaning to re-read it, but it’s such a cool desert fantasy. It has an interesting magic system and as far as I remember, doesn’t actually have a romance. Which in YA is a rarity and I love it. More people just need to read this series cause it’s great. It follows a guy who gets banished into the desert because he breaks a promise he doesn’t even remember making. In this world, each promise is tied with a magical knot and if broken, the knot burns and scars the oathbreaker and they become haunted by a shadow and become outcasts. Sadly, I read this series before I started my blog, so I don’t have a review, but if I re-read them, I will review them.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

27827627

A stand alone fantasy fairy-tale retelling influenced by Russian folklore. I think at least. I’ve read this twice, it’s one of those books that I think I will never tire of re-reading. It’s magical and beautiful. I love the atmosphere, I love the characters, I even love the romance which almost never happens. It’s amazing. It’s about a girl who lives on the edge of a magical forest which kills people and she gets taken away by the wizard who protects their area from the forest for unknown purposes. The wizard takes a girl every 10 years and then lets her go, but the girls are never the same afterwards and nobody really knows why he takes them.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Inter-dimensional travel between different versions of London. Need I say more?

A Guide to Short Fantasy Books for a Level 3 N00b

So you’ve graduated both my Noob’s guide to fantasy and Noob’s guide to high fantasy? You’re ready for more you say? You’re ready for the next level. But you take a look at all those chunky fantasy books and those 7 book long series and you feel overwhelmed? It’s okay. It’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’m here to save you with some nice, short fantasy books. So have a seat. Relax. I got you.


Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

howl's moving castle

This is such a beloved story. Studio Ghibli made it even more so. You’ve probably seen the anime. If you haven’t I do recommend it. But we’re here to talk about books. Whether or not you’ve seen the anime, I think you’ll enjoy this book. It’s a sweet, fun, charming story. And it’s short. Barely over 300 pages. If you’re a bit intimidated by fantasy, this just what the doctor ordered.

Temeraire by Naomi Novik

temeraire

This one’s for all you historical fiction lovers out there. This is a series that takes place during the Napoleonic wars. With the notable difference of dragons. This first book is amazing, it’s so sweet and funny and full of action. Again, pretty short. Under 400 pages, so it’s fast paced, easy to read and not too heavy on the fantasy. I feel like this is a perfect entry book for historical fiction lovers into fantasy and for fantasy lovers into historical fiction. And if you’re new to both, then even better. This book will broaden your horizons.

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

fire and heist

Speaking of dragons and of broadening horizons, this one is for you contemporary lovers. Imagine a fun, not too angsty, but still angsty, charmingly written contemporary. Take all the beloved elements of that: cute romance, some great friendships, some school drama, some family drama. Then add some dragons to it and you’ll get an idea of what this book is like. I admit, I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries. So I was expecting not to love this when I picked it up. But I ended up loving it. It’s just so much fun to read. It’s very fast paced and also barely over 300 pages, so it’s super quick to read.

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

the colour of magic

If you want something short (less than 300 pages!) and satirical. Full of whimsy, imagination and lots of action (and giant turtles of unknown sex). Then this is the book for you.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

27827627

If you’ve been reading this post and thinking to yourself “Pfft, I may be new to fantasy, but I’m not that new to it. I’m ready for more. I’m ready for something a bit heftier, a bit more complex.” Or maybe you’ve been thinking “But Romana, I’ve already read all of those! What do I do now?!” I got you. Don’t worry. Try Uprooted. It’s a bit longer, about 450 pages. But it’s a standalone. The magic is a bit more complex. There’s more fantasy elements. But it’s such a beautiful story with a rich, fairy-tale atmosphere that’ll suck you right in.

Marvel Avengers Book Tag

I got a tag for y’all today. I saw this on some other blog and sounded cool, so here we go.


IRON MAN: A BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD

martian

The Martian by Andy Weir. This book made me laugh multiple times, It’s really funny. I have a review of it, go check that out.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: A BOOK THAT SENDS A POSITIVE MESSAGE

temeraire

Temeraire  by Naomi Novik. It sends the message that dragons are awesome and clever. And that’s a positive message. And it makes me happy.

THOR: A BOOK WITH A CHARACTER’S STRENGTH YOU ADMIRE

27827627

I admire Agnieszka from Uprooted by Naomi Novik. All the Naomi Novik books today. Because she’s badass and is super chill and self confident even when the dumbass she loves runs away cause he’s a dumbass. And Agnieszka is just like “Yeah, well I’m amazing anyway and I’m just gonna do my thing until you decide to get your shit together and realise I’m amazing and even if you never do I’m still amazing tra la la”. And I admire her for that. I wish I was like that too.

BLACK WIDOW: A BOOK WITH A KICK-ASS FEMALE PROTAGONIST

ESSUN FROM THE BROKEN EARTH. EsSuN. Essun. Essun. essuNNNNNN. I’ve talked about this series to death and I’ve reviewed it and raved about it. so go check those posts out.

HULK: A BOOK THAT MADE YOU INCREDIBLY ANGRY

stealing snow

I feel like I haven’t trashed on this book in a while, so just in case you didn’t know, I hated it. It made me maaaddd. If you want to know why, you can read my rant about it.

HAWKEYE: AN UNDERRATED BOOK YOU THINK MORE PEOPLE SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO

artemis_fowl_first_edition_cover

I’ve only said it 50 hundred million times.

*BONUS* LOKI: A BOOK WITH A TWIST OR SURPRISE THAT TRICKED YOU

Mistborn  by Brandon Sanderson. Particularly the last book. But throughout the series, I just didn’t see stuff coming. I’ve also reviewed this series.

August 2018 Wrap-Up

I read 6 books in August. I’ve been surprisingly consistent with the number of books I’ve been reading considering how hard this year has been.


Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

32295486This was sadly somewhat disappointing. It could have been cool, with the combination of Celtic and Norse mythology. Unfortunately, it focused way too much on the romance between the main characters, which was totally insta-lovey and really had no chemistry going. 2/5 stars.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

38606192This was awesome. I can’t even explain to you how much I enjoyed this book. It’s a fairy-tale and it’s inspired by Rumpelstiltskin. But it’s got Jewish and Russian tones to it. I loved the romance as well, it’s got the trope of the two love interests hating each other and then growing to grudgingly love and respect one another, I just eat that up.  and it’s just so beautiful and cool and ugh, I loved it. 5/5 stars

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

27827627I had such a book hangover after Spinning Silver, that I had to go and revisit this story because only a Naomi Novik fairy-tale could satisfy. I audiobooked it this time around and the audiobook was fantastic. I do have a full review of this if you are interested. 5/5 stars.

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman

17364One of my friends randomly lent me this book and I was very pleasantly surprised by it. It’s probably one of my favourite non-fiction books that I’ve read. It’s so funny and interesting and cool. 5/5 stars

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

30809689

I’m a big fan of Norse mythology and I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman. A match made in heaven, really. I listened to the audiobook for this one, which is narrated by Neil Gaiman, so it was delightful. The man does have a great voice. 5/5 stars

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

the darkest part of the forest

I have mixed feelings about this book. While I did enjoy the dark setting and the fairy folklore and that aspect of it very much, I wasn’t a massive fan of the strong emphasis put on the romance. I just didn’t really care about any of the couples and in fact… I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. I didn’t dislike them, really. I just didn’t care much about them. The story itself was cool though and I do love folklore. 3/5 stars.

Audiobook Collection

Over the past few months, I’ve been getting into audiobooks and I’ve gathered a little collection of audiobooks. I’ve never included any of them in my book hauls, so I thought I’d make a separate post to share my collection with you. Some of these, I also own physical copies of.


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins | Ships and Strings and Wedding Rings by Jodi Taylor | The Very First Damned Thing by Jodi Taylor | Roman Holiday by Jodi Taylor | Christmas Present by Jodi Taylor

When a Child is Born by Jodi Taylor | Red Sister by Mark Lawrence | Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence | Golden Son by Pierce Brown | The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll | The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin | The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris | Life of Pi by Yann Martel | The Power by Naomi Alderman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman | The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton | Uprooted by Naomi Novik | A Breach of Security by Susan Hill

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Spoiler Free Book Review

27827627Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Adult, fantasy

First published: 2015

Author: Naomi Novik

Synopsis: Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Book depository | Goodreads


The first thing I have to say about this book is that it’s beautiful. The writing, the story, the setting, the characters. They’re all beautiful. It made me cry on a couple of occasions.

It’s not often that you see standalone high fantasy novels. It’s hard to balance a standalone fantasy. You need to have rigorous enough world-building that your reader isn’t completely confused, but you also need a story that wraps up nicely and is satisfying and complete. With a series, it’s easier because you’re telling a story over several books. Which makes this book that much more impressive. It’s not even a very long one. Not even 500 pages, which isn’t short, but it’s not massive. And yet it’s so well balanced.

Naomi Novik manages to create a world that is captivating and intriguing and at the same time, deliver a narrative that is layered, intelligent and just all around beautiful. It’s truly masterful writing. I loved the world, I loved the Russian feeling it had to it and I love the magical forest. There’s just something about magical forests that brings me back to the days I spent chasing orcs through Fangorn and taking refuge in Lórien. The magic system is another element that I enjoyed. I liked how different people worked it in different ways. Some were rigid and scientific about it, others were artsy about it and the different styles complemented each other. Much like the real world.

I loved the relationships in this book. I loved the friendship between Agnieszka and Kasia. I love that it had flaws, and hardships. Ups and downs; it was realistic, but it was unfaltering and undying and beautiful. I need more friendships like that in books. I also really liked the dynamics between the Dragon and Agnieszka. Again, it was frustrating, it was hard, it had ups and downs, but it was realistic and it was strong.

I feel like the story has so many layers to it that I can hardly collect my thoughts on it. From commentary on the nature of war, to the complacency of the human condition, to the hatred that fear promotes. It’s a story about roots and what makes a home and how far people will go to protect their home. But ultimately, I think it’s just a story about humanity explored through magic. I don’t feel like I can do the book justice, so just go read it.

Autumn 2017 Wrap Up

Since I haven’t really been reading much, I’ll stick to doing seasonal wrap-ups. I’ve read 9 books since September and I haven’t got reviews for most of them because I am sooooo behind with my reviews.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phenix & Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Order of the Phoenix93124I’ve been making my way through the series as audiobooks this time and I’m quite enjoying them. Most books don’t work really well on audio for me, but these ones are really good. They’re narrated by Stephen Fry and he’s doing a very good job of bringing this beloved world to life. His kids must have had some great bedtime story experiences.

5/5 stars of course.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

godsgraveAnother delightful book by Jay Kristoff. I can’t get enough of this series and I can’t get enough of Kristoff. I really need to read the next of his books while I wait for the next installment of this series to come out. I actually do have a review of this one, and I believe this is the only book in this list I have currently reviewed (I know, I’m very behind). You can check that review out here if you are interested. Also, look how beautiful that cover is!

5/5 stars

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

127455I kept putting this book off for ages, thinking that I wouldn’t enjoy it that much (I don’t even know why), but it quickly became one of my favourites ever. It’s so much fun to read and I love the characters so much. I’m currently reading the second book in the series and I can’t wait to finish it and finish the whole series (if it comes out anytime in my life time, that is). There are so many things that I’m super curious about and I can’t wait to learn about them.

5/5 stars

Miracles by C.S. Lewis

682778C.S. Lewis is one of my favourite authors ever. His non-fiction books are so poignant and lucid and well written, it’s just a joy to read them. Miracles is no exception, I honestly and wholeheartedly recommend C.S. Lewis to anyone who likes being challenged to think and be critical.

5/5 stars

 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

27827627Another brilliant book. I seem to have only read amazing, 5 star books these past few months. Which is a good thing, because I didn’t get to read that many. So at least they were good. This book was so beautiful, it even made me cry at some point. It was just so lovely and magical and just all around good. I was a bit skeptical about it to be honest, but I loved it and I can’t wait to read more Naomi Novik.

5/5 stars

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

29847078This is probably my favourite Rick Riordan book that I’ve read so far. Norse mythology is even better than Greek mythology for many reasons, but one of them (and the one that was most distinctly felt in this book) is that it’s just so much weirder. And that gives so much more opportunity for the humour that, let’s be honest, is a huge part of why Rick Riordan’s books are so popular. This series is also a lot darker than Percy Jackson, which I really enjoyed as well.

55 stars

Duplicity by Sibel Hodge

30848589This book was awful. That 5 star streak was lovely, but it couldn’t last. I audiobooked this and I got it for free, so I’m not too bummed about it. But it was just so bad. It was one, giant ridiculous, predictable cliche. I either hated all the characters or just didn’t care about them, because they were bland, one dimensional. The plot was predictable and had some gaping chasms in it and the narration was mediocre at best and what’s sad is that it’s because it was an audiobook that it even got 1.5 stars. It just made it bearable.

1.5/5 stars

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

hunger gamesI audiobooked this one as well. I’ve been on an audio kick. Unfortunately, I’m not really loving the narration. I love The Hunger Games, so I can move past it and just enjoy the story, but the narrator is so annoying. She makes Katniss (and almost everyone else) sound like a simpering moron. I don’t know why, but I just hate her narration. So because of that, I’m only giving it 4 stars, even though the story deserves 5 and I have rated it 5 stars on my previous reads.

4/5 stars

October & November 2017 Book Haul

October is my birthday month, so I kinda went crazy with the books I bought… I think only one of these was actually bought in November.


Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch | Letters From a Skeptic by C.S. Lewis | Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis | The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis |The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis

Miracles by C. S. Lewis | The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis | Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis | The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis | Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss | Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes | Uprooted by Naomi Novik | Relativity: The Special  and General Theory by Albert Einstein | Classical Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum by Leonard Susskind and George Hrabovsky

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green | Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan