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Month: January 2020

Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Book Review: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara


I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve heard amazing things about I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. One of my resolutions for 2020 is to read more nonfiction that I find interesting, and true crime is a topic that is endlessly fascinating to me. I expected to be caught up in the chase for an elusive killer. What I didn’t expect was breathtaking, engaging prose dripping with compassion and empathy for the victims. Beautifully written and deeply insightful, this book was an experience unlike any other I’ve yet found in the genre.

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Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

A review copy received from the publisher, Orbit UK, in exchange for an honest review.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, mystery

First published: 23rd July 2019 by Redhook (US) and Orbit (UK)


How many of us readers have experienced the kind of immersion and connection to a story, its setting or its characters, which made us wish that it could be real? I’d gander a guess that it covers pretty much all of us. H.G. Parry’s marvellous debut novel, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, perfectly illustrates the magic of stories and words on a page.

“That’s how the story works, the way the sentence and metaphor and reference feeds into the other to illuminate something important. That explosion of discovery, of understanding, is the most intoxicating moment there is. Emotional, intellectual, aesthetic. Just for a moment, a perfect moment, a small piece of the world makes perfect sense. And it’s beautiful. It’s a moment of pure joy, the kind that brings pleasure like pain.”

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2nd Interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

2nd Interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Hi everyone, Petrik from Novel Notions here. Today I’m bringing you a second interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, the author behind The Gutter Prayer and its recently released sequel, The Shadow Saint. I’ve read and reviewed The Shadow Saint since the end of last year and upon finishing it, I knew I have to interview the author AGAIN because I have a few things to ask his brilliant mind, so here we are.

You can check out my review of The Shadow Saint on the blog and I hope it will convince you to order it if you haven’t already done so. Now, without further ado, here is my second interview with Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan.

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Book Review: Valley of the Free (Pandemonium Rising, #0.5) by Michael Sliter

Book Review: Valley of the Free (Pandemonium Rising, #0.5) by Michael Sliter

Valley of the Free by Michael Sliter

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Pandemonium Rising (Book #0.5 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy

Pages: 128 pages

Published: 18th December 2019 by Dragyn Press (Indie)


Short, violent, and bloody; this is a good place for you to try Sliter’s writing.

Valley of the Free is a prequel novella to Mike Sliter’s grimdark fantasy series: Pandemonium Rising. The story follows Ferl’s quest for vengeance, and this little novella depicts the conception of the infamous Ferl’s Company. Having read—and loved—the two available books in the main series so far, I can safely vouch that no prior reading of the main series is required. You can enjoy Valley of the Free without any knowledge of the main series; excluding the main character—Ferl—only one or two other characters appeared briefly. In fact, I do honestly think that this is a very starting point for you to try Sliter’s work. Valley of the Free is not as dark/brutal as Sliter’s debut work, Solace Lost, and it’s good to familiarize yourself with his writing style and gritty content first. I would say that Valley of the Free is more attuned to Wisdom Lost in terms of content and quality, which, in my opinion, delivers a more balanced narrative and also encapsulates Sliter’s craft at his best so far.

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Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Book Review: The Secret History by Donna Tartt


The Secret History by Donna Tartt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Secret History is one of those books that I’ve been meaning to read forever. According to my Kindle account, I purchased a copy more than five years ago; somehow, I just never got around to reading it. It’s one of those books that sounds so perfect for me that I’m afraid to read it for fear of it failing to meet the irrationally high expectations I have for it. When my co-blogger Emma informed me that it was one of her favorite books ever, I decided to take the plunge. I’m so glad I did. Far from failing to meet my absurd expectations, The Secret History blew them out of the water and is now happily ensconced on my favorites shelf.

“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it. And what could be more terrifying and beautiful, to souls like the Greeks or our own, than to lose control completely?”

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Book Review: Rotherweird (Rotherweird, #1)

Book Review: Rotherweird (Rotherweird, #1)


Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rotherweird is a book that’s been on my radar for a while. The cover is incredibly eye-catching. The premise is unique and intriguing, and the story proved to be just that. I can honestly say that I’ve never encountered a setting quite like it. By turns charming and almost sinister, Rotherweird hides deep secrets and a dark past that is utterly unknown to any of its residents. When outsiders, one in the form of a bumbling history teacher and the other in the guise of a wealthy lord who has just purchased the rundown Manor, elbow their ways into Rotherweird and start asking questions, the town faces unpredictable threats and must be protected by some of the area’s most unusual citizens.

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Book Review: The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2)

Book Review: The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2)

ARC received from the publisher, Orbit, in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadow Saint by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Black Iron Legacy (Book 2)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy, dark fantasy

Published: 7th January 2020 by Orbit (US) & 9th January 2020 by Orbit (UK)


The Gutter Prayer had been constantly lauded as one of the best debuts of 2019. Hanrahan’s imaginative and extraordinary dark fantasy worldbuilding, as well as his unique voice, continued to impress in its sequel, The Shadow Saint.

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Book Review: Soulsmith (Cradle, #2) by Will Wight

Book Review: Soulsmith (Cradle, #2) by Will Wight

Soulsmith by Will Wight

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Cradle (Book #2 of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia

Pages: 286 pages

Published: 26th September 2016 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


A great sequel that build upon the foundations laid in Unsouled.

Soulsmith is the second book in Cradle series by Will Wight. Continuing from where the previous book left off, Lindon has left the Sacred Valley in pursuit of advancement and accessibility to stronger powers. An ancient ruin has risen, and many sacred artists—Lindon included—gathers and they fight for the treasures inside. As I’ve mentioned in my review of Unsouled, it seems very likely that each sequel in this series will better than their respective previous installments, and Soulsmith is the first proof of that. Admittedly, I’m still not a huge fan of the main character himself, but Yerin and the new characters being introduced here—especially Eithan and Jai Long—were so entertaining to read.

“In his experience, practically anything became an adventure if framed properly.”

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Book Review: Unsouled (Cradle, #1) by Will Wight

Book Review: Unsouled (Cradle, #1) by Will Wight

Unsouled by Will Wight

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: Cradle (Book #1 of 12)

Genre: Fantasy, Progression Fantasy, Xianxia

Pages: 294 pages

Published: 13th June 2016 by Hidden Gnome Publishing (Indie)


A foundational start to a series that feels like the beginning of shonen anime in prose form.

I’ve promised many readers—my impatient co-bloggers included—that I’m going to read Cradle as soon as 2020 starts, and so here I am. I’ve been eyeing this series for quite a while now, it also has been recommended to me more than thirty times by more than thirty different readers. That number is not an exaggeration; I’ve received that many messages and recommendations from readers around the world telling me to read this series because they knew I’m going to love this series, and they weren’t wrong. I enjoyed reading Unsouled, and I know I’ll be binge-reading this series.

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Book Review: The Overneath by Peter S. Beagle

Book Review: The Overneath by Peter S. Beagle


The Overneath by Peter S. Beagle
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If I had to choose one word to describe Beagle’s writing, I think I’d have to break the rule and use two: melancholy whimsy. He is absolutely brilliant at mingling the lovely and imaginative with the quietly heartbreaking. Before picking up this collection, I had only read two books by him: The Last Unicorn and Summerlong. I thought that The Last Unicorn was achingly lovely, and I completely get why it’s considered such a foundational classic of the fantasy genre and why it is so beloved by some of my favorite authors. Summerlong, on the other hand, fell flat for me, but I’m beginning to think the reason behind that lack of connection was my reading it in the wrong mindset and with impossible expectations. Both are books I plan to revisit, the first to see if my appreciation for it has changed, and the second to find out if reading it at the wrong time could be why I didn’t enjoy it more.

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