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Month: February 2019

14

14

14 by Peter Clines
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

A fascinating and engaging genre-bending novel with excellent characterisation, elevated by the narrator’s superb voice-acting.

14. Firstly, the number, when spoken in Chinese sounds like “will/must die”. Due to this superstition, there are numerous buildings in my part of the world which do not use this number. You will instead get Level 13a or Unit 13a in place of 14, and sometimes even a jump from 13 to 15. I started the book with this notion at the back of my head. And all I knew about the story then was that the building was strange and mysterious. A potent and thrilling combination, and yet I was still pleasantly surprised with the direction the story took.

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Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2)

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Muse of Nightmares is another lovely display of Taylor’s craftsmanship. It continues a story that is pretty and romantic and moving, a story that began in Strange the Dreamer, the other half of this duology. Unfortunately, it didn’t pack quite the same punch as its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still a lovely novel. But the first novel was stunningly tangible, and this follow-up felt more like a phantom of that loveliness instead. Which is a comparison that is appropriate on multiple levels, as you’ll see if you choose to read this. And you definitely should read this, if you’ve read Strange the Dreamer. While I might not think it was quite as strong as the first installment, it still provided a satisfying ending encased in Taylor’s exquisite prose.

“It was better than any story he’d ever read. It was like being inside a story and writing it all around you, and not alone but with someone who just happened to be as magical and beautiful as a fairy tale made real.”

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Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An action-packed sequel that offers relatable commentary about faith, corruption, authority, and family.

So far, this is the highest and the most positive rating I ever gave to Lawrence’s middle-book installment; I gave both King of Thorns and The Liar’s Key 2.5/5 stars. I am very pleased to say that I loved Grey Sister. Even though I loved Red Sister more, Grey Sister was another great volume for the series and depending on how I feel about the third and final volume, Book of the Ancestor could actually end up becoming one of my favorite trilogies.

“The understanding that power corrupts is an idea older than the language we repeat in. All of us in positions that afford authority over others are susceptible, be we high priests, prime instigators, even abbesses.”

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Interview with Justin Call

Interview with Justin Call

Hello everyone, this is TS from Novel Notions.  It gives me great pleasure to host this interview with Justin Call following the release of his fantastic debut, Master of Sorrows.  I was intrigued when I first saw the book’s tagline – what if you were destined to be a villain?  To my utter delight as I read it, I also discovered that the story had a lot of influences from classic epic fantasy, but felt different and modern with a grittier and darker tone.  It was like that breath of fresh air that carried a scent of nostalgia. 

I should not ramble any further as you can read my review for Master of Sorrows on the blog.  Our special guest had quite a lot to share with us, so let’s get the show on the road.

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Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Upon a second reading, I absolutely stand by everything I wrote in this review. Strange the Dreamer remains one of the most beautiful, lush novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading. The romance is star-crossed, which I’m not usually a fan of but which was heartbreakingly lovely in this story. I love this book so much and am so excited to start the next installment. Side note: I listened to the audio version for my reread and it was gorgeous. I highly recommend the audio if you plan to reread this. Now, on to the original review!

This was probably the most romantic story I’ve ever read. I read and really enjoyed Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, but this book was far superior in every way. The characters, the plot, the setting, and the romance were captivating. The writing itself was among some of the most exquisite I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

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Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

ARC provided by the publisher—Harper Voyager—in exchange for an honest review.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The magic of rereading Red Sister strikes a gold mine.

Other than a few changes or grammatical fix, I rarely rewrite my full review. However, Red Sister merits one because I loved it so much more than my first read; the quality jumped from great to amazing in my criteria. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I decided to reread Red Sister in order to refresh my memory before I continue with the series, I didn’t expect to enjoy it this much and I certainly didn’t realize how much I forgot and failed to appreciate in my first read.

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The Sleeping Dragon

The Sleeping Dragon

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Sleeping Dragon by Jonny Nexus.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

The Sleeping Dragon was an entertaining and pretty clever piece of writing.

When the author approached me to offer a review copy, I checked out the blurb as I usually would, and was intrigued by the premise of a five hundred-year old world-ending prophecy being brought into play in the modern world where “heroes” were obsolete.  I’ve yet to read a fantasy novel where a prophecy revealed during medieval times was to be dealt with in an urban setting.

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Guest post: Seraphina’s Lament Influences by Sarah Chorn

Guest post: Seraphina’s Lament Influences by Sarah Chorn

Hi, everyone! Petrik here. I hope all of you are having a great day! Today, we have our first guest post to ever appear on Novel Notions. Please welcome Sarah Chorn, the author behind the recently released debut: Seraphina’s Lament. I’ve read this book almost two months ago and I will say that if you’re a grimdark fantasy reader, you have to give this book a go. You can find my full spoiler-free review on the blog. Without further ado, Sarah Chorn will be talking about the main inspirations behind her debut!

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A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A Dance with Disappointments.

I really thought A Feast for Crows would’ve been the lowest point of the main series. I was wrong because this book didn’t show any sign of improvement. In fact, I thought this was even worse due to the boring setting and unnecessary length of this tome. If it weren’t obvious before, this book displayed Martin’s struggle with writing his main series even more. Realistically speaking, due to the direction of the story in this book, I’m quite confident that A Song of Ice and Fire most likely will never be completed.

“Winter is coming, Jon reflected. And soon, too soon. He wondered if they would ever see a spring.”

Me too, Jon Snow. Me too. I do believe that we’ll get The Winds of Winter eventually, but the planned final book of the series, A Dream of Spring, is indeed a dream.

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Connections in Death (In Death, #48)

Connections in Death (In Death, #48)

Connections in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know that I’ll ever find another series that feels as much like coming home as this series. Which is pretty amazing, considering all the murder.

I’ve made my love for Nora Roberts and her pen name abundantly clear over the course of my book reviews, but let me just reiterate that I absolutely adore everything she writes. There’s a flow to the prose that, while lovely, sucks me into the story in such a way that the words just disappear. That’s even more abundantly true in regards to the In Death series. Eve Dallas and Roarke and the family they’ve unwittingly built from friends and coworkers are all so insanely well developed by this point that they actually feel more real to me than many living, breathing people. Connections in Death marks the 48th full length novel in this series, and it’s still such a joy to get to revisit the characters and catch up on what’s been going on in their lives since the last book.

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