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Month: November 2020

Book Review: Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher

Book Review: Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16) by Jim Butcher

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Cover illustration by: Chris McGrath

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Dresden Files (Book #16 of 25)

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 348 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 16th July 2020 by Orbit (UK) & 14th July 2020 Ace (US)


Stunning finish and setup for the next installment, but I’m not sure whether this should’ve been divided into two books or not.

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Book Review: Dawnshard (The Stormlight Archive, #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Dawnshard (The Stormlight Archive, #3.5) by Brandon Sanderson

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Cover illustration by: Ben McSweeney

Cover designed by: Isaac Stewart

Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Stormlight Archive (Book #3.5 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Pages: 272 pages (ebook)


Dawnshard is a magnificent warm-up to the upcoming Rhythm of War.

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Book Review: Rose Madder by Stephen King

Book Review: Rose Madder by Stephen King


Rose Madder by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This is one of those King books I honestly didn’t expect much from. It’s not one commonly listed as a favorite, or even mentioned that frequently from among his works. I can’t say I would’ve thought to pick it up had I not been so invested in the extended reading list for the Dark Tower. But it was next on that list, so I found myself a copy. Now I’m incredibly glad I picked it up. Though not perfect, Rose Madder is now one of my favorite King novels outside of The Stand and the main Dark Tower series. Talk about a protagonist you can root for.

“It ain’t the blows we’re dealt that matter, but the ones we survive.”

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Book Review: Hollow Empire (The Poison Wars, #2) by Sam Hawke

Book Review: Hollow Empire (The Poison Wars, #2) by Sam Hawke

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ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover illustration by: Greg Ruth

Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Poison Wars (Book #2)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Mystery

Pages: 560 pages (US Hardcover)

Published: 26th November 2020 by Bantam Press (UK) & 1st December 2020 by Tor Books (US)


An incredibly well-polished and absorbing sequel; out of all the books and series I’ve read this year, Hollow Empire is quite likely THE sequel that has the most significant improvement in overall quality over its predecessor.

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Book Review: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

Book Review: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams


The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Dictionary of Lost Words is a beautiful book. But I was not prepared for the levels of heartbreak that were going to be present. I kept having to put the book down to try to find my way back into a more positive headspace. Had I read the book in any other stage in my life, I think I would have been able to divorce myself more easily from it and enjoy it more. However, everyone knows this year has been horrendous, and for some reason I was just unable to cope with the relentless hard knocks suffered by the poor protagonist. There was something about the bright tone of the book that made those blows even more terrible, and that’s what kept the novel from being a five star read for me. It was emotionally draining.

“Words define us, they explain us, and, on occasion, they serve to control or isolate us. But what happens when words that are spoken are not recorded? What effect does that have on the speaker of those words?”

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Book Review: Tower of Mud and Straw by Yaroslav Barsukov

Book Review: Tower of Mud and Straw by Yaroslav Barsukov


Tower of Mud and Straw by Yaroslav Barsukov
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received a galley of this book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There’s something about the novella as an art form that is so different from its bookend siblings, the novel and the short story. Not as sharp and snappy as a short story, but without as much room for deep dives into development as novels, it can be a difficult and strangely unwieldy medium, for both author and audience. That being said, novellas can also pack an incredible amount of power into a scant few pages when done correctly. It’s a medium full of both promise and pitfalls. In the case of Tower of Mud and Straw, I think that the promise is that Barsukov himself shows a lot of promise as an author, and the main pitfall is the lack of development that would have deepened the story he penned.

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Book Review: Tiamat’s Wrath (The Expanse, #8) by James S.A. Corey

Book Review: Tiamat’s Wrath (The Expanse, #8) by James S.A. Corey

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Cover Illustration by: Daniel Dociu

Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Expanse (Book #8 of 9)

Genre: Sci-fi, Space Opera

Pages: 560 pages (UK paperback)

Published: 26th March 2019 by Orbit


Wow, I take back what I said before. Tiamat’s Wrath surpassed Caliban’s War and Nemesis Games as the best installment of the series so far.

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Guest (Nils) Post: Code of the Communer (Shadows in the Wildwood, #1) by Kai Greenwood book review

Guest (Nils) Post: Code of the Communer (Shadows in the Wildwood, #1) by Kai Greenwood book review

Today, Novel Notions is hosting a guest post by Nils from The Fantasy Hive. This is what Nils has to say:

I read Code of the Communer for SPFBO 2020 as a judge with The Fantasy Hive. Petrik has kindly let me write a guest review post on Novel Notions as I’d like to help bring some spotlight to a book I feel is far too underrated.


Code of the Communer by Kai Greenwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Shadows in the Wildwood (Book #1)

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 323 pages (Paperback)

Published: 17th March 2020 by Wildwood Press (Indie)

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