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Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3)

Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3)

A Time of Courage
A Time of Courage by John Gwynne
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

“Truth and courage are the banners I live by. Love, loyalty and friendship shall be my guiding light. I will be the bright star in the night sky, the candle in the darkness. The defender of the innocent, protector of the weak. I will bring hope to the lost, give my life for the helpless. With Truth as my shield, and Courage as my sword, I shall stand against the darkness. From this day on, until the time of my death.”
— The Oath of The Order of the Bright Star.

I firmly believe that John Gwynne is one of the most gifted, powerful fantasy authors of our age. In the course of this trilogy and the quartet preceding it, Gwynne was able to create a world that feels as real as our own. The lore he wove into each book was fascinating and completely transportive. He crafted a compendium of characters for whom I cared so deeply that I rejoiced and wept with them as if they were my friends in reality instead of merely fictional. And don’t even get me started on his action-scene prowess. The fact that he can keep a battle going for 200 pages and keep everything in such incredibly clear focus that boredom has no hope of setting in and tension is so well maintained that I never once felt tempted to skim is an incredible accomplishment that I don’t think has been matched by any other author I’ve read outside of Brandon Sanderson. I honestly don’t know that anything about the series as a whole or this book in particular could’ve been improved in any way. In A Time of Courage, Gwynne penned an incredible finale that moved me deeply and left me feeling weepy and exhausted and content.

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Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Cover illustration by: Matt Duffin

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #4 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Translated Edition Published: 2018 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & Harper (US)


The Labyrinth of the Spirits is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has it all – evocative history, engrossing mystery, atmospheric setting, compelling characters, incredible emotional depth – wrapped up in writing so beautiful that it moves your soul.

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Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #4) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #4) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Cover illustration by: Matt Duffin

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #4 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery

Pages: 833 pages (US Kindle edition)

Translated Edition Published: 2018 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & Harper (US)


An absorbing literary masterpiece embedded with every range of emotions.

“Tell our stories to the world, and never forget that we exist so long as someone remembers us.”

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Book Review: Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

Book Review: Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella


Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Random House) and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ghosts of Harvard completely blew me away. At its core, it houses such a poignant window into mental illness and the victims it leaves behind when those struggling with it take their own lives. The portrayal of grief is brutal and beautiful and real. And yet this story is so much more than that. As she explores the Harvard campus on which her brother took his own life, Cady is faced with a plethora of mysteries. While her brother’s last days consume her from the start, she also finds herself digging into the university’s past as she grapples with fear over her own future. Ghosts of Harvard is a brilliant and seamless bridging of so many ideas and genres. I am in awe of how much research went into the writing of this book, and how Serritella was able to convey so much without a single aspect feeling forced. She struck a perfect balance in so many ways, and she truly gave the world a gift through the publication of this novel.

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Book Review: The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah

Book Review: The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

I came into The Great Alone expecting an adventure story. While there was indeed adventure in these pages, I found so much more than that. Hannah gives her readers a peak into not only Alaska, but into love in all its forms and scope and limitless variety. We see the love of a child for their parent and a parent for their child, and how far each would go to protect the other. We see romantic love so twisted that it becomes deadly to at least one party, and romantic love so strong and pure that it can conquer the worst adversities. We see the love that can grow within a community, and how family can form among completely unrelated people. And lacing all of these loves together, we see the love that nature can foster within a human heart, even when said nature is just as brutal and dangerous as it is stunningly beautiful.

“I think you stand by the people you love.”

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Book Review: Valentine, by Elizabeth Wetmore

Book Review: Valentine, by Elizabeth Wetmore


Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Valentine is absolutely gorgeous. The writing is so vivid and transporting that I felt like I indwelled each character during their prospective chapters. It’s also one of the most tragic, heartbreaking stories I’ve read in a very long time. My heart almost physically ached during my time reading this book. But most of all, Valentine is immensely powerful. It proclaims an almost rebellious resilience in the face of heinous adversity that is fiercely and unequivocally feminist, and I felt impacted by it at a soul-deep level.

“Mercy is hard in a place like this…”

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Book Review: The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3)

Book Review: The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3)

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

The Light of All That Falls by James Islington

My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Series:  The Licanius Trilogy (Book #3 of 3)

Genre:  Fantasy, Epic fantasy, High Fantasy

Published: 12th December 2019 by Orbit (UK) & 10th December 2019 by Orbit (US)


A breathtakingly audacious masterpiece of epic fantasy, The Light of All That Falls is an emotionally satisfying and flawless conclusion to the phenomenal Licanius Trilogy.

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Book Review: The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3) by James Islington

Book Review: The Light of All That Falls (The Licanius Trilogy, #3) by James Islington

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

The Light of All That Falls by James Islington

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series:  The Licanius Trilogy (Book #3 of 3)

Genre:  Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Pages: 864 pages

Published: 12th December 2019 by Orbit (UK) & 10th December 2019 by Orbit (US)


The Light of All That Falls is an absolute marvel, a prodigious finishing touch to an ingeniously plotted series.

Here’s a little statistic to give you an idea of how much I loved this book and series. If you look at my Goodreads profile, you can take a look at my list of favorite authors. Inside this list are authors who have written three or more books—that I’ve read, of course—to be included in my “favorites” shelf. Before today—out of approximately four hundred books I’ve read—there were eight authors on this list. With one trilogy, and without a shadow of a doubt, I’m going to include James Islington as the ninth author to join my list of favorite authors. Binge reading this trilogy for the first time blew me away, and I’m already looking forward to rereading it in the future. If you stumbled upon this review without having read the previous books in the trilogy, rest assured that this review will be spoiler-free; no details regarding the plot will be mentioned. There is, however, a better option for you, pick up The Shadow of What Was Lost and begin binge-reading this astounding series. Now.

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Book Review: Locke & Key: The Complete Series (Volumes 1 – 6)

Book Review: Locke & Key: The Complete Series (Volumes 1 – 6)


Locke & Key: The Complete Series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Two or three times a year, I get a random and powerful craving for graphic novels. This is not generally my genre of choice, but it makes for a fun departure from my usual reading. That craving hit early this year when I saw that Netflix was developing the Locke & Key series of graphic novels into their own original series. Since I have this thing about reading this book before seeing the show or movie, I knew I needed to read these immediately. They’ve also been on my TBR list for literally years, so what better time to take the plunge? I’m so glad I did. For the first time in my life, I think that a series of graphic novels might be contenders for my favorite reading experience of the year. And it’s only February!

“Dying is nothing. I’ve died a thousand times and I’ve always come back. Ideas can’t really be killed. Not for good.”

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Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3) by John Gwynne

Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3) by John Gwynne

ARC provided by the publisher—Pan Macmillan—in exchange for an honest review.

A Time of Courage by John Gwynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Of Blood and Bone (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 672 pages (UK hardback edition)

Published: 2nd April 2020 by Pan Macmillan (UK) & 7th April 2020 by Orbit (US)


A Time of Courage is one of the best final books to a series I’ve ever read in my life. It was truly a bittersweet, satisfying, and masterfully crafted finale to conclude Of Blood and Bone and the entirety of The Banished Lands saga.

Permit me to start this review with words from Gwynne himself:

“So, finally we come to the end of this series, and with it, the end of the Banished Land’s tales. Although Of Blood and Bone is a trilogy that can be read as a standalone series, it is also the final chapter of a longer history that involves the four books from The Faithful and the Fallen series. When read together they form around a one-hundred-and-fifty-year history of the Banished Lands, and a sizeable chunk of my life. Roughly seventeen years have flown by, I think, since lifting my pen and writing down my first ideas. I hope that you’ve enjoyed your time spent here, and that this book feels like a fitting and satisfying conclusion to all that has gone before.”

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