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Book Review: She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker-Chan

Book Review: She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker-Chan

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

Cover art illustrated by: JungShan Ink

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Radiant Emperor (Book #1 of 2)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy

Pages: 416 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 22th July 2021 by Mantle (UK) and 20th July 2021 by Tor Books (US)


She Who Became the Sun has the bravery to pitch itself as The Song of Achilles meets Mulan and actually live up to it.

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Book Review: The Lords of the North (The Last Kingdom, #3) by Bernard Cornwell

Book Review: The Lords of the North (The Last Kingdom, #3) by Bernard Cornwell

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The Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Last Kingdom (Book #3 of 13)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 401 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 22nd May 2006 by HarperCollins


This was a good but slightly weaker volume compared to its predecessors. It’s so good to finally meet Sihtric and Finan for the first time, though.

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Book Review: The Pale Horseman (The Last Kingdom, #2) by Bernard Cornwell

Book Review: The Pale Horseman (The Last Kingdom, #2) by Bernard Cornwell

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The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Last Kingdom (Book #2 of 13)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 432 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 3rd October 2005 by HarperCollins


Another great installment about loyalty, power, faith, friendship, and ambition.

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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


The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

For years, I thought The Shadow of the Wind was a standalone novel. When I learned that wasn’t the case, I ignored that information for more years. I thought The Shadow of the Wind was pretty nearly perfect on its own, and didn’t need expanded upon. I’ve read some marvelous books that should have been left alone, that had further books tacked on later that didn’t measure up to the first, and somehow manage to tarnish that first book. I didn’t want that to happen to my magical experience with The Shadow of the Wind, so I just ignored the rest of the series for a long time. But then, I found a gorgeous copy of The Labyrinth of the Spirits, the last of the quartet, on sale. I had to buy it for the cover alone, because it just captivated me. But I still didn’t think I intended to read it, or the two books between it and that first novel I had so loved.

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Book Review: The Last Kingdom (The Last Kingdom, #1) by Bernard Cornwell

Book Review: The Last Kingdom (The Last Kingdom, #1) by Bernard Cornwell

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The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Last Kingdom (Book #1 of 13)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 353 pages (UK Kindle edition)

Published: 4th October 2004 by HarperCollins


Uthred, son of Uthred, it’s finally time for me to read your story in its prose form.

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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020


2020 has been such a strange, stressful and complicated year.  I took a one-year sabbatical leave from work from mid-2019 and managed to do quite a bit of travelling for about six months before the world got completely turned upside down.  I’ve read/listen over 120 books this year, 73 of which was completed during the first half when I wasn’t working and the entire world was on lockdown.  Getting back to work during the second half in the midst of a global pandemic and a new challenging role did affect my ability to read and also write reviews on a regular basis.

Despite 2020 being such a watershed/dumpster year, it’s been an incredible one for my reading as I’ve completed a lot books ranging from great to masterpieces.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf (many of which were from the same series).  If you’re curious/interested, you also can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top five.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  Almost all of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads, albeit some are quite brief.

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Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2020)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2020)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists. Check out his portfolio, he’s brilliant.


This list is also available on my Booktube Channel if that’s what you preferred: https://youtu.be/1gXaV7SQVio

 

Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2020)

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Book Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Book Review: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Genre: Mystery, historical fiction

Published: 1st October 2020 by Raven Books (Bloomsbury Publishing, UK), 6th October 2020 by Sourcebooks Landmark (US)


Atmospheric as hell and brilliantly crafted, Stuart Turton’s sophomore release, The Devil and the Dark Water, was one of the best mystery novels I’ve ever read, and it solidly cemented his status as a must-read author for me.

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Book Review: Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett

Book Review: Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett


Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an audio copy of this book from the publisher, Blackstone Publishing, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This time of year, all I want to do is cozy up with a book that’s going to suck me in and keep me distracted from the cold. And there’s nothing cozier in my opinion than a literary mystery. Any time a book or an author takes centerstage in a plot, I’m excited. That excitement often leaves me disappointed, as I tend to expect too much of these books for some reason. But sometimes I get my hands on a book that delivers. Escaping Dreamland is one such book. This is the first Charlie Lovett novel I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be my last.

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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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