Black City Saint – Richard A. Knaak

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Release date: March 1st, 2016
Publisher: Pyr
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 390
Format: ARC
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

For more than sixteen hundred years, Nick Medea has followed and guarded the Gate that keeps the mortal realm and that of Feirie separate, seeking in vain absolution for the fatal errors he made when he slew the dragon. All that while, he has tried and failed to keep the woman he loves from dying over and over.
Yet in the fifty years since the Night the Dragon Breathed over the city of Chicago, the Gate has not only remained fixed, but open to the trespasses of the Wyld, the darkest of the Feiriefolk. Not only does that mean an evil resurrected from Nick’s own past, but the reincarnation of his lost Cleolinda, a reincarnation destined once more to die.

Nick must turn inward to that which he distrusts the most: the Dragon, the beast he slew when he was still only Saint George. He must turn to the monster residing in him, now a part of him…but ever seeking escape.

The gang war brewing between Prohibition bootleggers may be the least of his concerns. If Nick cannot prevent an old evil from opening the way between realms…then not only might Chicago face a fate worse than the Great Fire, but so will the rest of the mortal realm.

 

Review:

I’m having real trouble rating and reviewing this book. It was a bit of an odd one. It is an interesting story with a new take on Feirie that quite surprised me, but it also had a number of flaws. Right before the end I was going for 3 solid stars, but the ending makes me want to add another half one. I was happy about the turn the book took in the last few pages and it shifted my whole perspective of the book a bit.

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The Tiger and The Wolf – Adrian Tchaikovsky

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Release date: February 11th, 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 590
Format: E-galley
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming

Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She can’t disown half her soul, so escapes – with the killer Broken Axe in pursuit.

Maniye’s father plots to rule the north, and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, a time of testing and broken laws. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. But what spark will set the world ablaze?

 

Review:

I’ve said it here and on social media a hundred times before: that cover was enough to convince me to read this book. On top of that, I read ‘Empire in Black and Gold’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky recently and really enjoyed it, so I was curious to see how he would use his talent for creating fascinating and imaginative worlds in this book.

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Spotlight: League of Dragons – Naomi Novik

About the book

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The final adventure in the New York Times bestselling Temeraire series that started with the beloved His Majesty’s Dragon which has won fans of Napoleonic-era military history, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels, and Patrick O’Brian’s seafaring adventures.

The deadly campaign in Russia has cost both Napoleon and those allied against him. Napoleon has been denied his victory…but at a terrible price. Lawrence and the dragon Temeraire pursue the fleeing French army back west, but are demoralized when Napoleon makes it back to Paris unscathed. Worse, they soon learn that the French have stolen Termeraire and Iskierka’s egg. Now, it is do or die, as our heroes not only need to save Temeraire’s offspring but also to stop Napoleon for good!

Publication date: June 14th, 2016 (Del Rey(US)/Harper Voyager(UK))

 

There is currently a contest going on to win a signed copy of League of Dragons! For more details, look here.

 

About the author

Photo by Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Photo by Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Naomi Novik was born in New York in 1973, a first-generation American, and raised on Polish fairy tales, Baba Yaga, and Tolkien. She studied English Literature at Brown University and did graduate work in Computer Science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide.

Her first novel, His Majesty’s Dragon, was published in 2006 along with Throne of Jade and Black Powder War, and has been translated into 23 languages. She has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel, and the Locus Award for Best First Novel. The fourth volume of the Temeraire series, Empire of Ivory, published in September 2007, was a New York Times bestseller, and was followed by bestsellers Victory of Eagles and Tongues of Serpents.

On April 26, 2011, she published Will Supervillains Be on the Final?, volume one in a new graphic novel series titled Liberty Vocational. She is also currently writing League of Dragons, the final Temeraire novel.

She is one of the founding board members of the Organization for Transformative Works, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the fair-use rights of fan creators, and is herself a fanfic writer and fan vidder.

Naomi lives in New York City with her husband and eight computers. (They multiply.)

You can find out more at her LiveJournal and follow her at Twitter and Facebook.

 

Update: May

I can’t believe this is the last day of May already… For me, that has brought so many things closer than I thought they were. I’m leaving for Australia in 4 months. 4 months. It feels like I only arrived in the UK just yesterday. The Quidditch World Cup, where I’ll be a referee, will happen in less than 2 months. I will finish my first PhD year in 4 months. Can you slow down a bit now, time? It’s getting a bit scary.

Book-wise things are going pretty great though. I’ve read quite a fair amount of books this month, for me at least. I’ve bought a lot of books too. The local bookshop closed down last Saturday and had to sell all its books at reduced prices. I spent about 45min in there just browsing all the books, wishing I could take them all home. I asked what would happen with all the books that didn’t get sold, but that was still a big mystery it seems. I just hope they can find a nice home in charity or a library somewhere.

 

Read and Currently Reading

Read:

The Tiger and The Wolf – Adrian Tchaikovsky

What a treat this book was. It’s the second book by Adrian Tchaikovsky that I’ve read, Empire in Black and Gold being the first one. I enjoy his writing very much and I love how he can make his novels so imaginative and unique, without giving up any other aspect of good storytelling. The premise is original, the characters well-developed and the whole book is an amazing page-turner.

 

Planetfall – Emma Newman

I reviewed this book earlier this month, so go ahead and have a look at the links at the end of this post if you want to know what I thought about this one.

 

The Gunslinger – Stephen King

Finally! This one has been on my TBR for a very long time. I was really curious to find out if I’d like this book or not. I’ve had some trouble with reading King’s material before. I encountered the same problems in the beginning of The Gunslinger. I couldn’t really get in to it, the writing threw me off a bit. Slowly though I got sucked into the story more and more and ultimately I began to quite like it. It is a short book, so I’ll leave my final judgement for after I’ve read the second book in the series.

 

The Bones of You – Debbie Howells

My psychological thriller for this month. It was advertised as a thrilling debut and it looked really interesting. I enjoyed reading it, but again quite quickly I suspected what had happened to the victim. The rest of the build-up around it and the glimpses we got into the life of the victim added an extra dimension of drama to the story which still made it interesting.

 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Becky Chambers

I’m going to be controversial here and say that this book didn’t convince me at all. I bought it because everyone (and I mean, literally everyone) was raving about it. I really had to struggle to get through this book, it took me a couple of months to finish it. It didn’t really appeal to me. Even though it is quite progressive and that is what a lot of people loved so much about this book, it all seemed a bit forced to me. The last bit of the book was alright, I actually cared a bit then, but it was not enough to redeem this book for me.

 

Currently Reading:

Black City Saint – Richard A. Knaak

Still on this one. I kinda lost track of it, getting caught up in other books or trying to finish some I had been reading for a while. Will definitely get back to this one asap.

 

Nunslinger – Stark Holborn

After The Gunslinger it seemed fun to start Nunslinger. So far it’s been really good, I like Stark Holborn’s way of writing. The chapters are very short and the book itself is actually a collection of a series of 12 short stories. This makes it pretty fast-paced, which I really like.

 

Dancer’s Lament – Ian C. Esslemont

My first steps into the Malazan world! I’ve only just started this one, but I’m super excited!

 

Purchased/Received

  • Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 edited by Mercedes Lackey
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor
  • The Air War by Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Manhattan in Reverse by Peter F. Hamilton

Thank you Pyr for the Nebula Awards Showcase 2016!

 

Posts in May

 

How has your month in books been?

Planetfall – Emma Newman

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Release date: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Ace/Roc
Age Group: Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

From the award-nominated author Emma Newman, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity’s future might be its undoing…

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown. 

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi. 

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart…

 

Review:

After reading Emma Newman’s successful The Split Worlds, I was eager to read her new book, Planetfall. It promised to be something completely different and I wondered how I would end up liking that. Planetfall has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. It’s an emotional, intelligent tale about surviving and coping with tragedy. It maybe wasn’t completely what I had expected, but I enjoyed it immensely nonetheless.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

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op 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 picked up on a whim. I’m going to interpret this as buying/reading books that I hadn’t heard about before. As a blogger and follower of the online book community it’s hard not to buy based on recommendations, so I really liked this opportunity of looking through my books finding these that I just bought because they stood out on the shelves. They’re mostly older ones that I bought before I got into the book-blogging community. I was pleasantly surprised to see some of them again, a lot of them were absolute favourites of mine when I was a teenager.

 

1.TimeBomb – Scott K. Andrews

I picked up TimeBomb from a table of free books at a convention. I can’t remember if it was Nine Worlds or Fantasycon. I liked the cover and the description of the book and I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed the book very much and can’t wait to read the second one (which also has a stunning cover btw).

2. Shadow’s Son – Jon Sprunk

I picked up Shadow’s Son when I was a at big book fair in Belgium. They do a tour of Flanders and the Netherlands with a huge amount of all sorts of books, most at reduced prices. I go every year and because it’s always very busy, the selection of books I buy there are mostly based on covers and quick glances at descriptions. Shadow’s Son was one I bought solely based on the cover and it is basically how I discovered Pyr. It is the first book in a trilogy and I enjoyed all three of them very much.

3. The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima

Aaah, The Demon King! I bought it at the same book fair as Shadow’s Son and fell in love with it straight away. I bought the other two books in the series immediately after and eagerly awaited the fourth and last book after that. Seven Realms is a series that’ll always belong to my favourite YA series and it’s all because I picked up the first book because I liked the cover.

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Cover Artist: Tommy Arnold

I stumbled across Tommy Arnold’s work when I discovered the books Skyborn and Fireborn by David Dalglish. I was blown away by the beautiful covers and after looking through his other work, I must say he’s a new favourite of mine. I’ve added some examples below, but for more art, prints or to get in contact with the artist you can go to his website.

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All images shown below are copyrighted by the artist.

 

 

Spotlight: The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

About the Book

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Listen.
All the world forgets me. First my face, then my voice, then the consequences of my deeds.
So listen. Remember me.

My name is Hope Arden, and you won’t know who I am. We’ve met before – a thousand times. But I am the girl the world forgets.

It started when I was sixteen years old. A slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time.

A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase my missing homework. A friend who looks straight through me and sees a stranger.

No matter what I do, the words I say, the people I hurt, the crimes I commit – you will never remember who I am.

That makes my life tricky. But it also makes me dangerous . . .

The Sudden Appearance of Hope is the tale of the girl no one remembers. But this gripping story – of love and loss, of hope and despair, of living in the moment and dying to leave a mark – is novel that will stay with you for ever.

Publication date: May 19th, 2016 (Orbit)

 

About the Author

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Catherine’s first novel, Mirror Dreams, was completed when she was 14 years old. The book was published in 2002 and garnered comparisons with Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman.

Catherine went on to publish a further seven young adult novels under her own name, earning her extensive critical acclaim and two Carnegie nominations for her novels Timekeepers and The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle.

Under the open pseudonym Kate Griffin, she has also since published a further six fantasy novels for adults. Dubbed the Matthew Swift and Magicals Anonymous novels, these books are set in an alternate modern-day London saturated with magic. They revolve around the concept that the pulse, the rhythm and the heartbeat of the city and the millions of people living within it becomes a palpable form of magic itself.

In 2014, Catherine released The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August under the pseudonym Claire North. It is the extraordinary journey of one unforgettable character who lives his life over and over again. It became a paperback bestseller and was selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club, the Waterstones Book Club and the Radio 2 Book Club.

A lifelong Londoner, Catherine describes herself as a fan of big cities, urban magic, Thai food and graffiti-spotting, and she is endlessly fascinated by such questions as who leaves copies of the yellow pages on top of bus shelters, how the hidden tunnels beneath the sorting office were built, and why anyone would ever dispose of perfectly good pairs of shoes by throwing them over the nearest telephone line.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten (Actually Four) Websites I Love That Aren’t About Books

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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 website that we love that aren’t about books. It has taken this Top Ten Tuesday for me to realise almost all the website I frequently visit that aren’t social media are book-related. I really had to think hard to find some websites that I frequently visit and enjoy that aren’t about books, so this is going to be a rather short list.

 

1.TuneFind

So, starting off with something quite random: TuneFind. This is my go-to website for when I hear an incredible song on a movie or episode and I want to know what the song is called. It has helped me discover some incredible new music and some of the bands I discovered there have become new favourites of mine.

2. Episode Calendar

To stay in theme with number one, Episode Calendar is a website I use frequently to keep track of when episodes of my favourite series air. I watch so many of them that it’s hard to keep an eye on all the dates and announcements. With this website you can make an account, add 20 series you like for free and keep track of when the next episode airs, mark episodes as seen and how many episodes you still need to watch.

3.Celeste Barber’s Instagram account

When I need some cheering up, this woman’s instagram account is what I look at. She copies celebrities instagram photos in her own, ‘mundane’ way. They are hilarious and a good way to not be distracted by the perfect pictures these celebrities post of their perfect bodies in all kinds of ‘sexy’/weird positions. Celeste is the down-to-earth person that girls need to show them that those photos do not represent reality. And they are freakin hilarious.

4.PhD Comics

So, this is a personal one, but one that might appeal to all the PhD students reading this blogpost. PhD Comics makes, as the name suggests, comics about life as a PhD student. They are usually so spot on and make me want to giggle and cry at the same time.

Update: April

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update post, but I thought it was time to start again. I’ve read some great books in the first four months of this year and I have a feeling there will be many more during the rest of the year. These first 4 months have been… strange. 2016 has so far been a strange mix of wonderful and devastating events. Good thing I have my books through all of it.

These last few weeks have been crazy as I started the most important experiments of my first PhD year. It all happened a bit early and rather unexpected, so I’ve been running around like a crazy person trying to wrap my head around everything and getting everything done. Fingers crossed it’ll give me some good results!

 

Read and Currently Reading

Read:

Saint’s Blood – Sebastien de Castell

The book we’ve all been waiting for, the third instalment in the Greatcoats series. After the smashing debut that was Traitor’s Blade and the sequel, Knight’s Shadow, surpassing all expectations, it was no surprise that almost every one of my blogger friends was eager to read this one. And it didn’t disappoint. Scroll down for a link to the full review of the book.

Eagle in Exile – Alan Smale

This is the second book in the Hesperian trilogy. It’s a sequel that went right at every single point the first book went a bit wrong. I very much enjoyed this one and I’m looking forward to the third one to see how Alan Smale will continue on the path he has chosen for his characters. Same as with Saint’s Blood, scroll down for a link to the full review.

Half a King – Joe Abercrombie

I know I’m a bit late to the party. I’ve been wanting to read Half a King for ages now and I finally made some time to do it. Boy, oh, boy, I just couldn’t put it down. I will add my voice to the many already singing praise for this one. Keep an eye out for a full review soon!

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