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Month: June 2019

NOTHING TO HIDE (DC CONSTANCE FAIRCHILD, #2)

NOTHING TO HIDE (DC CONSTANCE FAIRCHILD, #2)

Nothing to Hide by James Oswald

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A cracking second investigation for DC Constance Fairchild, promising a hit for James Oswald’s new series.

DC Constance Fairchild is back in London… and back in trouble. Or maybe still in trouble, it’s hard to tell. It’s bad enough that her suspension’s not been lifted, that she’s on the receiving end of serious attitude from other police for rocking the boat, and that the gutter press won’t leave her alone, but now there’s a crime scene right outside her flat. She’s been told to leave it, to keep a low profile, but after finding some poor boy dying beneath the rubbish, she’s not about to let that stand. Especially when she discovers that he’s far from the first. But she has no idea that this is an investigation that’s going to take her to the darkest of places, a fight for her very survival…

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The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Poison Song was truly an outstanding conclusion; someone needs to find an antidote to cure the severely underrated state of this series ASAP.

After twelve books in a row, I’m gratified that I finally finished a new book that I can rate 5 stars easily. Here we are, the third and last book in The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. Now that I’ve finished binge reading this trilogy within a week, I can safely say that Jen Williams seriously deserves a much larger readership. C’mon, this last book was a bloody amazing read; it’s easily one of the best concluding volumes I’ve ever read. Even though this is the last of the series, there was still new content—such as Noon’s past, the Fell-witch’s background, the winnowfire’s origins—for the readers to learn about. It has all come down to this installment; the past two books and the first half of The Poison Song were preparations for the heart-hammering second half of this book. I honestly don’t think I’ve read many fantasy series that are as cleverly crafted and imaginative as The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. Williams made sure that each installment has its own main conflicts to resolve and, at the same time, she was able to stealthily build solid foundations for the searing conclusion of this series. The plotlines, the characters and their motivations, have been fully established and Williams was able to utilize them properly to deliver a glorious and unforgettable book; I found myself completely enthralled by William’s storytelling ability.

“What you brought back, darling, was the truth. Which is rarely comfortable and never painless, but often, ultimately, worth knowing.”

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Original Fiction Friday – A Kiss of Lightning

Original Fiction Friday – A Kiss of Lightning

Hello friends! I’d like to share some of my original fiction with you, and I thought a wonderful way to do so would be through a weekly feature on the blog. That was my plan, at least. I haven’t posted such a story in almost a year, and this is only the second story I’ve shared. Please feel free to comment and message me your opinions. I would love to know what you think. And if you have a story idea you’d like to see me tackle, I’m definitely open to suggestions!

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The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it’s insane that Jen Williams still doesn’t have a US publisher.

The Bitter Twins is the second book in The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. I enjoyed the first book, The Ninth Rain, very much, and although admittedly I loved the first book more, The Bitter Twins didn’t disappoint in delivering another great installment with high focus on characterizations, discovery, explorations, and revelations. The story picks up immediately from where The Ninth Rain left off. I’ve mentioned that in the first book it took me 25% to find myself fully engaged with the book, this one—unfortunately—took me even longer because the pacing felt even slower. The first half of the book was mostly setup sections as Williams introduced new characters and establish their distinctive voices. This new setup was necessary in order to expand the scope of the world and to have more variety of casts to the series, and the first half pays off wonderfully in the second half. Connections, family, and bonds were some of the many important themes that can be found in this installment.

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Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox, #1)

Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox, #1)

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

This is a full trilogy review for Paradox including the 2nd and 3rd titles, Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen.  

The one thing I’ll always credit Rachel Bach/Aaron with is her ability to thoroughly entertain me with her stories, and the Paradox trilogy is yet another proof of that.

By now, most of you will already know that I swear by Rachel Aaron’s books. They are go-to comfort reads; I’ve never picked up one of her books and not found it enjoyable. Her knack of creating great characters is matched by her ability to create worlds which at first glance seemed familiar but is packed with imagination. It’s as if her love of all things geeky brought together some pretty cool influences in her worldbuilding.

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The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blade Itself is exactly why I believe in second chances. When I first read this book four years ago, I had very little adult fantasy under my belt. I had read Elantris, Mistborn, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Kingkiller Chronicle. That’s pretty much it. I think I just wasn’t mentally prepared for something like The Blade Itself. Even ASoIaF, by far the darkest of the fantasy novels I had read up to that point, had a number of characters who were mostly moral. Even if I wasn’t sure how long said characters would live, I knew that there was good even in this dark world. Then Abercrombie entered. While even on my first reading I appreciated how fleshed out and unique his characters were, there was a part of me that was horrified to find a core of darkness within those I had thought were basically good. My little brain didn’t cope well with that.

“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”

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The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #1)

The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #1)

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Ninth Rain won the Best Fantasy Novel trophy in British Fantasy Awards 2018; this is a totally well-deserved victory.

On Goodreads, you’ll see that I put my co-blogger’s name as the one who recommended this book to me; do know that for the past two years, there were actually many readers who have told/asked me to read and review not only The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, but also William’s debut series: The Copper Cat trilogy. I’ll get to reading The Copper Cat eventually, but for now I’m so into this series, and let me just say that from the experience of finishing this book alone, I already know I’ll be reading any book that Williams published. This book is approximately 550 pages long and I finished it within two days; it’s been months since I felt this compelled to read a high fantasy novel at this pace.

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Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew

Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stephen King is such a master storyteller. I’ve come to love him over the past few years, and I now count him among my favorite authors. I have to agree with the masses, however; King tends to fall flat when it comes to endings. Thankfully, that’s not really an issue when it comes to short stories. They’re not supposed to really end, which I think is a huge boon in King’s favor. As with Night Shift, the first of King’s short story collections I read, Skeleton Crew was chockfull of the interesting, terrifying, and uncomfortable. While not every story was a resounding success, there were far more hits among these twenty two installments than their were misses, and a handful of these stories will be staying with me for a good long while.

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Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2)

Wisdom Lost (Pandemonium Rising, #2)

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Wisdom Lost by Michael Sliter
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Wisdom Lost strengthened the idea that Pandemonium Rising is one of the most underrated character-driven grimdark series in the market right now.

I’m very close to loving this series as much as I loved Richard Nell’s underrated Ash and Sand series. It is that good. Wisdom Lost is the second book in the Pandemonium Rising quartet by Michael Sliter. Told in the same multi-perspective character-driven narration as its predecessor, the story picks up immediately from where the previous book left off. Although I did give a content warning for the first installment, I don’t think Wisdom Lost merits a specific content warning. This doesn’t mean that this book doesn’t fall into the grimdark genre; it still does undeniably. However, I personally found it to be not as depressing or mentally brutal; I believe everyone’s acquainted to the genre will find this one easier—if I can call it that—to read for the heart. In Solace Lost, Sliter prepared the foundation for every main character’s background and personality; at the same time breaking one or two of the POV characters in both physical and mental aspect brutally. Wisdom Lost focuses on how the characters coped and developed from them.

“Part of understanding emotions in others was seeing what emotions they elicited within the self. One cannot truly understand rage or depression simply as an observer, bereft of empathy.”

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