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Month: July 2018

Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018-July 31st, 2018)

Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2018-July 31st, 2018)

Between January 1st, 2018 and July 31st, 2018, I’ve read and reviewed 82 books, and so far it’s been another fantastic reading year. Considering the number of books I’ve read and reviewed this year, there will be four rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. The rules are:

  •  Rereads don’t count.
  •  One book per author.
  • The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.
  • Number one spot aside, none of these are in particular order. Why? Because I spent two hours of staring at my computer screen and I still can’t firmly decide on the ranking!

All the books listed below received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here we go! (All full reviews of these books can be found on my Goodreads page; some are available on this blog.)

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City of Kings

City of Kings

City of Kings by Rob J. Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Rose has decided that she will become queen of the Wilds or die trying, and the Black Thorn is dead set on doing everything in his power to keep his heavily pregnant wife happy. For the most part, this story takes place over the course of a week as Rose and her Thorn lead their army of misfits in a siege of the last city holding out against Rose’s reign. Her goal is to take the city before her daughter is born, and to slaughter the remaining blooded families hiding within the walls. The problem? The city is impenetrable. But Rose will accept no excuses, even legitimate ones, and she will have that city, even if every man and woman fighting for her is slaughtered in the process.

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Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, #1)

Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand, #1)

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Kings of Paradise (Ash and Sand #1)Kings of Paradise by Richard Nell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finally got around to review Richard Nell’s highly acclaimed indie debut, Kings of Paradise. My verdict: an impressive grimdark debut.

I was first offered to review Kings of Paradise by Nell himself back in November 2017. Back then, Kings of Paradise had around 20 ratings and I simply didn’t have time to read it because I was swamped by ARCs, review copies, and Oathbringer’s release, which was also in November; I told Nell that I’ll give his book a read in 2018. I certainly didn’t expect that the book would garner 150 new ratings and many extremely positive reviews; I’m pretty sure there’s a Nell fan club being formed already. I won’t bother you with rearranging the synopsis into my own words, the blurb is spoiler-free and you should read that if you want to know what the plot is about. I’ll start off this review immediately with my favorite part of the book, Ruka’s storyline.

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City of Blades (The Divines Cities, #2)

City of Blades (The Divines Cities, #2)

City of Blades (The Divine Cities, #2)City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Dying nobly is preferable to living savagely.”

I’m completely blown away by Bennett’s world building. City of Blades thrilled me and surprised me and cut me to the quick with its rich character development and lore. I cared so much about the characters, and felt every emotion they felt as I read. Bennett’s world is unlike any I’ve ever come across; he absolutely excels at creating both empathetic characters and compelling mythology and history to add a depth and uniqueness to his writing that I believe to be rare.

“O, the things we kill for our dreams, forgetting all the while we shall wake up to find them naught but dust and ash!
What fools we are to pretend that when we walk to war we do not bring our loved ones with us.”

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We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)

We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)

We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire, #1)We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A new gale of hope for self-published fantasy blows with all its might as Devin Madson summons a new triumphant tornado in We Ride the Storm.

Open up your thesaurus and look up the word “underrated.” Devin Madson’s name truly belongs there. I bloody loved this book, even more than all of Madson’s previous works which were great themselves. You can check my review history and you’ll see that for self-published/indie books that I’ve read and reviewed so far, I’ve given a full 5 stars rating (without rounding up on Goodreads) to literally only one book, The Mirror’s Truth by Michael R. Fletcher. We Ride the Storm is the second occurrence.

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The Family Tabor

The Family Tabor

The Family TaborThe Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Actual rating: 4.5 stars, rounded up.

This was such a beautiful, heartbreaking story.

Wolas once again made me feel deeply for people comprised of ink, who have never and will never draw breath in reality. I’ve never come across another author who has quite her way with presenting the inner thoughts of a fictional character in such a moving, gripping fashion. I feel like I know the Tabors more intimately than many of the flesh and blood people in my life, and almost certainly better than the Tabors know themselves.

“Who among us is ever as good as they can be, as they want to be? And isn’t the effort what’s most important, the pursuit in that direction, that the good we discover in ourselves we claim, or reclaim, and use wisely and well, and spread it around, pass it on?”

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The Grave at Storm’s End (The Vengeance Trilogy, #3)

The Grave at Storm’s End (The Vengeance Trilogy, #3)

The Grave at Storm's End (The Vengeance Trilogy, #3) The Grave at Storm’s End by Devin Madson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The storm of vengeance ends here and the graves have been filled. The result? An emotional and satisfying conclusion that fits the tone of the series.

Let me first say that the statistics for this book are mind boggling. The book has been out for almost two years and there are only 15 ratings and 5 reviews on Goodreads; that’s ridiculous! Not only is this trilogy better than a lot of grimdark series out there, Madson has done everything right as a self-published author. Amazing cover? Check. Great content? Check. Admirable professionalism? Check. The only thing this trilogy lacks is exposure and words of mouth. I’m not Mark Lawrence; I don’t have enough followers or friends on my list to bring as much exposure as he did for Senlin Ascends. I can only do what I do best and that is to provide my honest review/opinion and hopefully, it will help Madson’s work get the exposure it deserves.

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The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

The Resurrection of Joan AshbyThe Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly need more than five stars to give.

“She was no longer writing about tragedies that blew apart peoples lives, but about something else entirely: how dreams could keep hope alive and fresh.”

Getting this book was kind of a big deal for me. Okay, it was a really big deal. This was the first physical ARC I ever received. I’ll be honest: being asked to review this book made me feel kind of special, which was a large part of the reason I accepted it. When the book was delivered, I was tentatively excited, but I wasn’t going to hold my breath that it was going to be any good. And I wasn’t going to lie and say that it was amazing if it wasn’t, though I would’ve tried to soften the blow the best I could, because I hate to hurt anyone’s feelings, even if the author never read my review. But it turns out that I needn’t have worried. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby was everything that literary fiction should be; it took the mundane and elevated it with stunning prose and tremendous character depth.

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The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)

The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)

The Gods of Vice (The Vengeance Trilogy, #2)The Gods of Vice by Devin Madson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

No sophomore slump here; this was another great installment for The Vengeance Trilogy.

The battle for the Crimson Throne has split Kisia and it’s time for the characters to choose sides. Prepare for shifting allegiances, betrayal, and revelations. The plot in The Gods of Vice continues immediately after the end of the first book and once again, vengeance and the deadly magic—Empathy—become the central theme. If you’ve read the first book and haven’t read the novella, In Shadows We Fall yet, I strongly urge you to read it now; it’s only 100 pages long anyway. The novella, despite being very short, provides a lot of backgrounds information that is still pertinent to this installment. For example, Empress Li won’t just be a simple name you read; you’ll know so much more about her each time her name gets mentioned. This of course doesn’t mean that you HAVE to read the novella to understand the events in this book, but it will certainly be beneficial in enriching your experience. So why not? It’s fantastic and it will only take two hours (at max) to read.

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Original Fiction Friday – The Last Dancing Princess

Original Fiction Friday – The Last Dancing Princess

Hello friends! I’d like to share some of my original fiction with you, and I thought a wonderful way to do so would be through a weekly feature on the blog. Please feel free to comment and message me your opinions. And if you have a story idea you’d like to see me tackle, I’m definitely open to suggestions!

I love words with all of my heart. One of my greatest passions is writing stories of my own, stories that I hope will find an audience some day. My other great love is music, and many of my short stories heavily feature music and the power I feel it holds. This is such a story. I hope you enjoy my spin on the classic fairy tale!

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