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Book Review: Stormblood (The Commons, #1) by Jeremy Szal

Book Review: Stormblood (The Commons, #1) by Jeremy Szal

ARC provided by the author and publisher—Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.

Stormblood by Jeremy Szal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Common (Book #1)

Genre: Sci-fi, Military sci-fi

Pages: 432 pages

Published: 4th June 2020 by Gollancz


Milestone achieved: This is my 400th review!

A captivating military sci-fi debut. Stormblood tells a splendid story about two brothers divided by war that is full of comradeship, actions, and conflict.

Here’s an ugly truth, I haven’t been reading a lot of sci-fi lately. I was able to read 115 books in 2019, and only eight of those books were sci-fi novels. For this year’s priority sci-fi TBR pile, I have only ten sci-fi books on my list; nine of them belong to the entirety of The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey, the other one is Stormblood, Jeremy Szal’s debut. I came to know about this book because the author—same as me—is a huge fan of Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown and Mass Effect video game franchise, and after reading this book, I can say that both inspirations are evident in his novel. I definitely would suggest anyone who’s a fan of either one of them, even better if both, to check this debut out.

“People compare overcoming addiction to climbing a mountain, but that assumes there’s a peak to climb towards. Stormtech was more like swimming in an endless, churning sea. You never truly beat it. You just found temporary ways not to drown.”

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Book Review: Skyward (Skyward, #1)

Book Review: Skyward (Skyward, #1)

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“Claim the stars.”

Have you ever loved an author so much that you’re actually afraid to read anything outside of the series by them you’ve come to adore? That’s how I feel about Brandon Sanderson. I love everything about his Cosmere, and all of the series that comprise it. From Mistborn to Stormlight, from Elantris to Warbreaker, he’s crafted some of the most unique magic systems I’ve ever witnessed, and I love that such wildly different series all tie into a bigger picture that is still being woven. Because of my deep adoration of the Cosmere, I’ve been hesitant to read Sanderson’s other works. I read the first Alcatraz book and thought it was fun and cute, but that’s as far as I’ve been able to go. His young adult works, The Reckoners trilogy and Skyward, gave me even more pause, because young adult is a genre that is very hit-or-miss for me. There are so many tropes that have been done to death in the YA genre: love triangles and a special girl who refuses to realize she’s special being among those most often used and happen to be my least favorites. Thankfully, neither of those were present in Skyward. Actually, there wasn’t any real romance. Which I found very refreshing for a young adult book.

“You find a way, and you defy them. For those of us who don’t have the courage.”

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Book Review: Alexander X (Battle for Forever, #1)

Book Review: Alexander X (Battle for Forever, #1)


Alexander X by Edward Savio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had never heard of Alexander X or its author before picking this up. It’s not something that would have ever come across my radar. My decision to purchase it was twofold. First, it was an Audible Daily Deal. It’s hard to pass up a less than $4 audiobook, no matter what it is. Second, Alexander X is narrated by Wil Wheaton. In my opinion, narrator really matters when it comes to audiobooks. If you’re going to have someone talking in your ear for 6, 13, 27 hours, it needs to be a voice you like. No matter how wonderful the story, if I don’t jive with the narrator I’ll abandon an audiobook in a heartbeat, promising myself that I’ll try it again one day in a visual format. I have a list of narrators I love, and Wheaton is a name on that list. On the flip side of this, the best narrator in the world can’t save a lackluster story. Happily, Alexander X was a fun, addictive, and pretty darn original story that was paired with a wonderful narrator.

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Book Review: Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #1) by Tamsyn Muir

Book Review: Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #1) by Tamsyn Muir

ARC & Review copy provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Locked Tomb (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery

Pages: 448 pages

Published: 10th September 2019 by Tor.com


Gideon the Ninth is a damn fine example of why readers’ reviews are incredibly important.

If you have been active on bookish social media, you should know by now that Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir’s debut and the first installment in The Locked Tomb (or The Ninth House in the past) Trilogy, has been tor.com’s most hyped book of the year. The buzz and praise for Gideon the Ninth has been immense to say the least. Knowing nothing other than the fact that “Lesbian necromancers in space” was stamped on the front of the gorgeous cover art (illustrated by Tommy Arnold), I gave the ARC a try a few months ago only to find myself disappointed by how much it didn’t work for me back then. If I may be brutally honest, I DNFed the novel around 120 pages in on my first read-through. Since then, readers’ reviews have started pouring in, usually resulting in absolute love or disappointment; there’s almost no in-between. But there’s one common consensus shared by both factions: the second half improved significantly. After receiving another copy of this book, a limited edition with black sprayed edges and many goodies, it was only fair that I give it one more try. The result? I enjoyed it remarkably more than I did on my first try. I truly believe that knowing the right things to expect out of this book ahead of reading it will improve the reader’s enjoyment so much more.

Picture: The book and the goodies I received!

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Book Review: Vendetta in Death (In Death, #49)

Book Review: Vendetta in Death (In Death, #49)


Vendetta in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

After reading four dozen books with the same characters, you’d think I’d be tired of them. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Vendetta in Death is the 49th(!) book following Eve Dallas, a Homicide detective in New York City in the near future. By this point, Eve and Roarke and every person in their lives feel tangibly real to me, and every new installment in this series feels like a chance to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a while.

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Book Review: The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1)

Book Review: The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut, #1)


The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Calculating Stars was such a fun, compelling story. But though it was compelling from page 1, it didn’t start out fun. Having an apocalyptic event occur that wipes out your family and the city you call home, and having to come to terms with the fact that your entire planet will become uninhabitable within a matter of decades is understandably a difficult situation for our perspective character, Elma York. She is a mathematics savant and a killer pilot, and is married to a legit rocket scientist. The couple find themselves at the core of the International Aerospace Coalition, earth’s response to the disaster that struck in the book’s early pages. If the planet will soon be inhospitable, then the only option is to find a way to get mankind into space and colonize other heavenly bodies. Elma and her husband, Nathan, are working night and day to make that plan become reality. But Elma wants to do more than compute equations; she wants to become the first female astronaut.

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Book Review: Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5) by Pierce Brown

Book Review: Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5) by Pierce Brown

Dark Age by Pierce Brown

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Red Rising Saga (Book #5 of 6)

Genre: Science fiction, Space Opera, Dystopia

Pages: 800 pages (UK Hardback edition)

Published: 30th July 2019 by Hodder (UK) & 30th July 2019 by Del Rey (US)


Gory (literally) damn insane, violent, bleak, and ruthless. Helldivers, prepare your soul to be hell-drilled by Dark Age’s brutality.

“During war, the laws are silent.”—Quintus Tullius Cicero

Two things first. If it has been a long time since you’ve read Iron Gold or Red Rising Saga, I strongly recommend you to reread the entire series before you read Dark Age. I didn’t do this and I truly believe that my reading experience of this book suffered from it. Secondly, throughout the years since Red Rising publication, many people still insist that this series is for YA audience; by the time you read this book, you’ll probably be traumatized or maybe even loathe this book for its extreme darkness. Seriously, Dark Age is one of the darkest, bleakest, and goriest novel I’ve ever read in my life; the humor and heartwarming aspect of the series that’s usually common to find are close to non-existent in this installment. I will edit this review in the future when I’ve reread the series from the beginning in preparation for the sixth and—maybe—last book of the series, but for now, this is my thoughts and opinions on my first read-through Dark Age.

“With every new endeavor, there’s always the hope that you will find happiness, be less lonely.”

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Book Review: Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4) by Pierce Brown

Book Review: Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4) by Pierce Brown

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Red Rising Saga (Book #4 of 6)

Genre: Science fiction, Space Opera, Dystopia

Pages: 624 pages (Hardback edition)

Published: 16th January, 2018 by Hodder (UK) & 16th January, 2018 by Del Rey (US)


A bloodydamn spellbinding return to my number one favorite sci-fi series of all time.

There haven’t been any changes to my list of favorite authors of all time for a year now. I’m gratified to say that after reading his Red Rising trilogy and Iron Gold, Pierce Brown deserves to be included in the list.

For those of you who don’t know, Iron Gold is the continuation to the highly acclaimed Red Rising trilogy which has now become a saga; making this book in reality the fourth book in the Red Rising Saga. The story takes place ten years after the end of Morning Star and to tell you what the book is about—spoiler-free, of course—there’s really no better way than to let Pierce Brown himself explain it:

“Iron Gold is about the struggle to preserve liberty in a bleak landscape, where heroes of the past look suspiciously like villains and the inspiring dream of liberty has been hijacked by politicians, dirtied by social strife, and muddled by interest groups and competing factions.

How in such a world can good prevail? On the back of one man? Certainly not. It takes a village—a host of disparate people who, despite their conflicting views and disparate pasts, must band together to find their own purpose, to replenish the dream of liberty with their own sacrifices and come together for the common good…”

– Pierce Brown

Full article here: https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1…

There you have it. And as for my thoughts and review, here it goes.

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Book Review: Spaceside (Planetside, #2) by Michael Mammay

Book Review: Spaceside (Planetside, #2) by Michael Mammay

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

Spaceside by Michael Mammay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Planetside (Book #2)

Genre: Science-fiction, Mystery

Pages: 336 pages

Published: 27th August, 2019 by Harper Voyager


I can’t emphasize this highly enough: if you enjoyed reading Planetside, you will most likely enjoy Spaceside too.

Spaceside is the second book in Michael Mammay’s Planetside series. Although the first book worked totally well as a standalone, I’m glad there’s a continuation because I was left wanting more after the ending of the first book. More than a year has passed, Colonel Butler is trying his best to live with the burden of the life-changing action he did at the end of Planetside. Even though Butler has been forced into retirement because of it, this doesn’t mean that he can take a break. In this installment, Butler’s task to investigate a hacking ended up escalating much bigger than he expected.

“A wise man once told me that hope is not a great planning tool.”

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Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 10 List. (More info on this at the end of the post.)


Between January 1st, 2019 and June 30th, 2019, I’ve read and reviewed 61 books (33.6k pages). So far, it’s been an incredible reading year. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. The rules are:

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.

Do note that although this time there’s a rank to this list, I highly recommend every book listed below because I loved all of them immensely and they received a rating of 4.5 (rounded up on Goodreads) or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here we go! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)


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