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Ghostwater (Cradle, #5)

Ghostwater (Cradle, #5)

Ghostwater by Will Wight
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Ghostwater is a worthy winner of the Reddit r/Fantasy 2018 Stabby Awards for Best Independent Book; I am now a huge fan of the Cradle series.

The author kept on surprising me with his inexhaustible imagination and the ever-increasing, mind-blowing, magnitude of magical and martial power in this series.  All without ever making me think that it was ridiculous.  Well, okay, it was – just ridiculously fun and exciting, that is.

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Fairy Tale (The Temple Chronicles, #0.5)

Fairy Tale (The Temple Chronicles, #0.5)

Fairy Tale by Shayne Silvers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fairy Tale is the prequel to the Nate Temple Chronicles by Shayne Silvers, and is the first piece I’ve read from the series or the author. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The snark level here is exactly what I’m looking for when I choose to read urban fantasy. When I start gravitating toward UF, my life is generally becoming hectic in some sense. I go to UF because I know that I will almost always deliver fast-pasted, well plotted stories with a dynamic cast of characters and, in the best case scenario, a plucky protagonist who wields sarcasm as a weapon whom I can look forward to revisiting again and again as UF series tend to be long in installments instead of hefty books.

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The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones

The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones

The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of ThronesThe World of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intricate world-building on a global scale.

The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones is a companion book to A Song of Ice and Fire series. Martin’s collaboration with Elio Miguel García Jr. and Linda Maria Antonsson resulted in a comprehensive history behind the land of Westeros and beyond. Although I spent two weeks reading this book, do not think that I didn’t enjoy reading it. The World of Ice and Fire is an imaginary history book, and the prose certainly felt like reading one. The book is written from the perspective of an in-world maester, and I read this book exactly the same way I read our real-world history book; bits by bits instead of my daily 150-300 pages reading pace. Upon finishing it, I truly believe that the fans of the main series will have to read this companion book.

Picture: Aegon the Conqueror upon Balerion, the Black Dread by Jordi González Escamilla

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Carrie

Carrie

Carrie by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

In a sense, Carrie is the book that launched a thousand nightmares. This was King’s first ever novel and, while not his scariest, we would have never been exposed to the tales that have terrified millions without it. I feel that Carrie deserves respect for that reason alone, but I confess that I was hesitant to pick it up. Often, when you find an author you love later in their career, going back to their first published forays into their craft can be a bit disappointing as their writing abilities have improved or at least changed over the course of that career. I needn’t have worried. Every page completely entranced me, and I was engaged through the very last page.

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I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’d Rather Be Reading is a light, sweet little ode to books and the joys they contain. Though the cover is lovely and the title immediately resonated with me, I might never have known it existed if not for the author’s podcast. For those who are unaware, Anne Bogel runs a popular blog by the name of Modern Mrs. Darcy, as well as my very favorite podcast appropriately named What Should I Read Next? On this podcast, she interviews book lovers from all walks of life and readerly tastes. After giving us a chance to get to know these readers a bit she asks them to tell her three books they love, one book they don’t, and what they’ve been reading lately. Using these answers, Anne gives each person a list of three books they might love in hopes they will choose to read at least one of these next.

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We Lie With Death (The Reborn Empire, #2)

We Lie With Death (The Reborn Empire, #2)

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

We Lie With Death by Devin Madson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There is no calm after the storm, Devin Madson has crafted a sequel rich with wonderful character developments and illuminating revelations.

It’s been roughly seven months since I finished reading We Ride the Storm. Ever since I finished it, We Lie With Death instantly became one of my most anticipated books of 2019. Considering the unreasonably high expectations I had for this book, I honestly think that it’s truly praise-worthy that Madson was able to create another novel that repeatedly grabbed my attention. Before I begin my review, I would like to first inform everyone that there’s a “Story So Far” and a Characters List section at the beginning of the book that will help refresh your memories of the first book.

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Kellanved’s Reach (Path to Ascendancy, #3)

Kellanved’s Reach (Path to Ascendancy, #3)

ARC received from the publisher, Random House UK, in exchange for an honest review.

Kellanved’s Reach by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Kellanved’s Reach was a great continuation to the story behind the rise of Kellanved and Dancer, and the beginnings of the Malazan Empire.

Judging from the direction of the narrative in this book, I strongly doubt that this would be the end of the series (which was marketed initially as a trilogy). Compared to the previous books, the number of character POVs in the third book had more than doubled. There were multiple storylines told from the perspective of all the different warring city-states within the continent of Quon Tali. Arising from these were several new characters being introduced. While most of these individuals will have significant roles in the later Malazan books, their respective subplots at in this book seemed largely detached from the main story. There was one character whose nickname was yet to be known by the end of the book, and it made me want to tear my hair out. I was certain that he’s a prominent person in the later books, but his character development at this stage did not provide sufficient clues.

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Magic for Beginners

Magic for Beginners

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Something I’ve noticed over the course of my recent reading life is that, if you’re in the mood for weird, you should definitely look into short story collections. Some of the strangest and most memorable fiction I’ve read in the past five years or so have been short stories. This is not a format I thought I enjoyed, as I prefer to dig more deeply into a story than twenty pages or so can accommodate.

Honestly, I probably never would have given short stories the chance they deserved if it weren’t for the fact that I started writing my own, and the fact that Neil Gaiman reads his own collections in their audio format. For those of you who aren’t aware, Gaiman has an incredibly smooth, sultry, expressive reading voice, very similar to Benedict Cumberbatch in my opinion. Listening to him read his own work is a fantastic auditory treat.

Because I’ve enjoyed Gaiman’s short stories so much, I decided it was time to try out some other authors known for their short stories. After doing some research, I decided on Kelly Link, as she’s a big name in both the short story form and the literary fantasy and horror genres. I’m so glad I did. While I didn’t love every story in this collection, there were quite I few that I really enjoyed. Below I’ve given each story its own tiny review. Overall, I think they came together to create a strong collected work.

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Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, #1)

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow, #1)

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A masterwork you don’t want to miss; it is with temerity that I declare Blood Song as one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read.

Why do I love this book? The simple answer would be because this is a book that has everything I love in epic fantasy and that it hit all the right notes for me. I could practically end my review with that answer but that wouldn’t do justice to how great this book is. Now, it’s time for me to take on the role of the Chronicler and inform you why it’s essential for you to read Vaelin Al Sorna’s coming-of-age story.

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A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Feast for Crows was quite good but it’s far below the incredible standard set by the previous three books.

I’ve mentioned in my previous review that A Storm of Swords could truly be the height of Martin’s writing career and I still stand by that statement confidently. Unfortunately, there’s a huge chance that this book will be the other way around by being the lowest point of the series. There’s a lot of circumstances to consider here. If I’ve waited 5 years before I read this book, I definitely would’ve hated it and give this at max 2 stars rating. If I haven’t received any warning on the odd structure of the story and character’s POV choices, I most likely would’ve disliked it more. If I haven’t watched the TV series, I probably would’ve enjoyed or disliked it more. And if I haven’t read A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms or in the midst of reading The World of Ice and Fire, again, I most likely will dislike this book even more. Putting all circumstances into consideration, my experience of reading A Feast for Crows wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it was truly a disappointment after the brilliance of the previous book.

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