It’s been pretty quiet on the blog again. I promise you though, I haven’t forgotten my promises from January! The last few months have been crazy. I have been working on something for a long time now, specifically writing something. I started it approximately two years ago at the start of my PhD and yesterday it finally got published! *Insert excited squealing here* Unfortunately it’s not a kickass Fantasy of Science Fiction book, but it’s a scientific literature review about my field of work. Combining writing scientific work and book reviews has been a real challenge for me, which is why I focused on the science more. Obviously getting articles published in prominent journals is very important for my career and writing these articles is also something I genuinly enjoy. Hopefully with this one out I can write a few book reviews before the draft of my next paper gets back from my supervisors with comments! Stay tuned, I’ve read some awesome books in the first part of this year and I can’t wait to share them with you all.
If you’re interested in reading my scientific work, here’s the link to the paper. Unfortunately the full text is not accessible without a personal subscription or through a university.
See you all soon!
Release date: March 3rd, 2015
Age Group: Adult
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
What if a society banished its worst nightmare to the far edge of the solar system, destined to sip only dregs of light and struggle for the barest living. And yet, that life thrived? It grew and learned and became far more than you ever expected, and it wanted to return to the sun. What if it didn’t share your moral compass in any way?
The Glittering Edge duology describes the clash of forces when an advanced society that has filled a solar system with flesh and blood life meets the near-AI’s that it banished long ago. This is a story of love for the wild and natural life on a colony planet, complex adventure set in powerful space stations, and the desire to live completely whether you are made of flesh and bone or silicon and carbon fiber.
In Edge of Dark, meet ranger Charlie Windar and his adopted wild predator, and explore their home on a planet that has been raped and restored more than once. Meet Nona Hall, child of power and privilege from the greatest station in the system, the Diamond Deep. Meet Nona’s best friend, a young woman named Chrystal who awakens in a robotic body….
I am usually very reluctant to read Space Operas. In general, they are just not for me. It’s strange because I do like them in tv/movies, just not in books. With ‘Edge of Dark’ I took a bit of a plunge in the unknown, searching for something new and exciting to cleanse my palet of epic/high fantasy. It definitely was not what I was expecting, but in a good way. The deeply ethical theme was probably what made me love this book so much. It really made me think, it made me question what I would do in situations presented in the book, how I would cope. It was an interesting journey that I’m happy I embarked on, even though I had my reservations.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. Every Tuesday bloggers list 10 bookish things according to a certain theme. Today we’re listing ten books that we meant to read but didn’t get to in 2017 (but definitely will in 2018!). There’s definitely enough books to choose from! I picked 10 that are on top of the TBR list and that I’ll try to read in the first few months of the year. Click on the names to be taken to their Goodreads pages.
2017 has been an incredibly busy year. I’m slowly finding my place in the world through travel, volunteering and my work. It has been a slow year for the blog unfortunately. I’m sad I don’t have as much time and energy anymore to update more often. At the same time I’m learning so much, about myself and about what I want my future to look like. I’m still very keen to keep putting up reviews whenever I can, so that’s what I’ll continue to do.
What have I been doing lately? Well, I coached my quidditch team here in Adelaide and we have went to Nationals in December. I’m also a selector for the Australian National quidditch team, called the Dropbears, for the 2018 World Cup which will be held in Florence. I’ve also started volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary that was closed down 5 years ago and is now being saved by an incredible couple from WA. It has shown me a different life, a different occupation that I had never considered before, but seems very tempting now. Other than all these things, I’ve mostly been enjoying life in Australia. Summer is here and that means amazing sunsets at the beach, wildlife coming to say hello and enjoying the warmer weather.
After these updates about my personal life, I’d love to share my book year with you guys too.
I started 2017 with An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, quickly followed by the second book in the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, A Gathering of Shadows. Both were books that I enjoyed a lot, so that was a promising start to the year. These were also two of the six books that I gave 5 stars this year so far. The others are: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan, Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell and Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb. Yes, I’ve only now started the Farseer trilogy. I’ve had them on my shelf for a very long time, but only now found some time to read them. I’m finishing the third book now and I have to agree that it is an amazing series of books.
V.E. Schwab is my favourite discovery from last year. This year I’ve read five of her books and loved every single one of them. I can’t wait to continue that streak next year! Red Sister by Mark Lawrence was a much anticipated book and it met all the high expectations. I’m tentatively calling it the best book I’ve read this year. The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan also blew me away. I’m a big fan of dragons and any books that feature dragons will get me all excited. This one had a very interesting take on dragons and their relationship with humans, an awesome and elaborate storyline and one hell of an ending. I’m currently reading the second book. Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell is the last book in the Greatcoats series and readers of my blog will not be surprised to read that this was one of my most anticipated books of 2017. The end of a much-loved series is always a bit of a question mark. There’s been so many conclusions that just weren’t satisfying, almost bringing the whole series down with them. Luckily Tyrant’s Throne did not do that! It was a very satisfying end, though I’m very sad to say goodbye to the Greatcoats.
The last day of 2017 was spent finishing The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan, the second book in the Draconis Memoria, another great book. The first day of 2018 was spent finishing Kings of the Wyld by Nicolas Eames, the first book in the Band series that has gotten raving reviews so far. I can only agree with the many people proclaiming their love for this book as it is certainly a very entertaining read.
Next up for me on Kindle is Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, another book by one of my favourite authors that has gotten great reviews. The next paper book I’m going to start is still a slight mystery. I have so much choice that it’s always hard for me to choose which one I want to read first.
I wish you all a great 2018 full of amazing books, adventures and love!
Release date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Titan Books
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Kate Harker and August Flynn’s families rule opposite ends of Verity, a grisly metropolis where violent acts summon real monsters: bloodsucking Malchai; clawing Corsai; and soul-stealing Sunai. The truce that keeps the families at peace is crumbling, and August is sent to spy on Kate. But when Harker’s men try to kill her and pin it on the Flynns, August and Kate find themselves running from both sides, in a city where monsters are real…
When I see a book with the name V.E. Schwab on the cover I always get excited now. I must have burned through almost all her books this year! She is probably my favourite discovery of 2017. So far I haven’t read one book that disappointed me and This Savage Song was no exception. Urban Fantasy is very often hit or miss with me and not the genre I would go for if I had a choice in books. Schwab is slowly changing my mind though. This Savage Song is another brilliant Urban Fantasy with a different take on a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by monsters.
Release date: April 6th, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Age Group: Adult
I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.
But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.
Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…
It’s been five years since I read Prince of Thorns, Mark Lawrence’s debut dark fantasy novel. Back then I could see a lot of promise in his writing style and his creative thinking. The Broken Empire proved not to be for everyone, with some voices going up about the protagonist, an anti-hero taken to a whole new level. But even so, the books gained a lot of popularity and Lawrence has been publishing books at a steady pace since then. I haven’t had a chance yet to read his second trilogy, The Red Queen’s War, but it’s definitely on my TBR list.
Red Sister, the first book in a new series called Book of the Ancestor, seems to go down a different road than the previous books he’s written. It is set in a new world, written from a third person perspective and is less dark and gritty than The Broken Empire. Though different, it is just as cleverly put together and just as addictive as his previous books. When I finished Red Sister I had that genuine sad feeling that always seems to creep up on you after finishing a really good book. You don’t want it to end, you want it to keep going. It is a lot harder to pick up a new book after one like Red Sister too, because what will compare?
Release date: March 28th, 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Age Group: (Young) Adult
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
Welcome to Weep.
I was a big fan of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, which felt refreshingly unique and was written in such a way that it quickly and firmly claimed a place at the top of my favourites list. When word first reached me that a new book, first in a new series, was coming out I could hardly contain my excitement. The title was definitely promising. Strange the Dreamer. There are so many ways that could be interpreted. When the covers were revealed I knew for sure that this was a book I HAD to have. I didn’t even read the synopsis but just took the first opportunity to get my hands on it.
February was another busy month for me: I bought a car (watch out Australia!) and I’ve decided to move house. Unfortunately I have not been able to keep to my ‘one-book-a-week’ resolution, but I’m eager to catch up.
Work has finally settled into some form of routine, with less things going wrong which is really good for my stress-levels. This also means I now have a bit of time to explore what I want to add to the blog from now on. Exciting! I’m going to have a look around at interesting memes started on other blogs that I could participate in and I’ll be starting up the weekly Spotlight again.
Read this month
Edge of Dark – Brenda Cooper
I received this book from Pyr quite a while ago and hadden gotten to it yet. It was always in the back of my mind though and that’s why I brought it with me when I moved to Australia. I’m happy I did because I enjoyed Edge of Dark very much. It is set in a distant future where humans have colonised other planets, but mostly live in space on huge spaceships. Somewhere in humanity’s past we got technology to a point where we created powerful humanoids. Scared of what they could do to us, humanity banished them. But now they are back.
It was an interesting take on a story that has been told before, the ‘robots taking over’. Especially because this time it was also told from one of the robots. With the different factions of humans reacting differently to this new/old threat, it was also very realistic. It reminded me of how divided we are right now. Definitely eager to start the sequel next!
A Conjuring of Light – V.E. Schwab
The last book in the Shades of Magic trilogy and one I had been eagerly awaiting. I pre-ordered the book for my Kindle, so I could start reading right away when it got published. I don’t really know what I was expecting from this book. I loved the previous two books in the trilogy with the second one probably being my favourite.
I’m going to keep my more detailed thoughts for my full review, but even though it was a satisfying end, I missed something. There was lots of action and I really enjoyed reading the conclusion, but there are some parts of the storyline I would have liked a different resolution for.
Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
Yeah, I’m still reading this one. I put it on hold for a bit to read A Conjuring of Light, but last night I picked it up again! It’s an intriguing story and I’m really curious to see where it goes.
Truthwitch – Susan Dennard
This one came up as a bit of a surprise. I was shopping in Kmart and suddenly saw this one and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman at prices I could actually afford to buy them. So I just went for it. I’ve heard a lot about Truthwitch, it seems like a very well-loved YA book. Will this fall into the category of hyped books that I don’t like? Or will it surprise me? We’ll see!
Posts this month
*Hangs head in shame* Again not a lot of posts last month, but at least some improvement!
Next books on the TBR list
So I didn’t stick to my last list at all. I guess what I decide to read really depends on what mood I am in. I’m still going to try to list some books that are at the top of my TBR though.
- Spear of Light – Brenda Cooper
- Children of the Different – S.C. Flynn
Release date: February 26th, 2015
Age Group: Young Adult
Toby’s life was perfectly normal… until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.
Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House: an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They’re looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it’s time to take them to the sanatorium.
No one returns from the sanatorium.
Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.
Because everybody dies. It’s how you choose to live that counts.
Sarah Pinborough’s books have always been able to captivate me and I’m slowly working my way through all her books. I enjoy her writing style and the amazing twists and concepts she puts in her books. The next one on my list was The Death House. I didn’t know too much about it when going in, which is the way I prefer it when I know the author is good. The Death House is not your usual kind of book. It centers on quite an emotionally heavy storyline, has practically only one location where the story plays out and it involves kids and adolescents in a very dark and somber setting.
Release date: June 4th, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Age Group: Young Adult
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.
If I look back at how I’ve been feeling about Young Adult books the last couple of years, I have to admit that have been mostly negative. Especially when books got quite the hype, somehow I didn’t get it. So I was a bit reluctant to believe the hype that surrounded this book. With a Goodreads rating of 4,32 stars and a synopsis that hinted at typical Young Adult storylines, I was scared that this was going to be another book that just wasn’t for me. But somehow, I loved it. It has all the elements that should make me not like it, but somehow Sabaa Tahir managed to weave it into a story that had me completely hooked.