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Month: January 2021

Book Review: The Forever Sea (The Forever Sea, #1) by Joshua Phillip Johnson

Book Review: The Forever Sea (The Forever Sea, #1) by Joshua Phillip Johnson

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

Cover art illustrated by: Marc Simonetti

The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: The Forever Sea (Book #1)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 464 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 26th January 2021 by Titan Books (UK) & 19th January 2021 by DAW Books (US)


Wonderful world-building and beautifully written, but unfortunately it’s a bit lacking in characterizations and pacing.

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Book Review: The Combat Codes (The Combat Codes Saga, #1) by Alexander Darwin

Book Review: The Combat Codes (The Combat Codes Saga, #1) by Alexander Darwin

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Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Felix Ortiz

Cover art designed by: STK.Kreations

The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Combat Codes Saga (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, Dystopia, Martial Arts

Pages: 410 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 31st October 2015 by Insight Forge Press (Self-published)


Fun, tense, and entertaining; The Combat Codes is an MMA-inspired sci-fi debut with heart and well-written combat scenes.

“A perceived weakness is strength, and a flaunted strength is weakness.”

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Book Review: Outlawed by Anna North

Book Review: Outlawed by Anna North


Outlawed by Anna North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Outlawed is an alternate history in which a Great Flu wiped out 9/10ths of the U.S. population, the country fell apart, and now a woman who can’t pop out babies to rebuild that population is branded a witch and hanged. As a barren woman myself, this premise hit incredibly close to home for me. I loved seeing how all of these women dealt with such superstition and blatant inequality.

“People cry witchcraft whenever they don’t understand something.”

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Book Review: To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

Book Review: To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

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

To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Science fiction, short stories

Published:  1st October 2020 by Head of Zeus (UK) and 20 Oct 2020 by Tor Books (US)


True to his form as seen in his most renowned science fiction series, The Remembrance of Earth’s Past, Cixin Liu’s imagination in this short story collection, To Hold Up the Sky, was truly remarkable.

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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 Two-Faced Queen (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #2) by Nick Martell

Book Review: The Two-Faced Queen (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #2) by Nick Martell

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ARC provided by the publisher—Saga Press & Gollancz—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Richard Anderson

The Two-Faced Queen by Nick Martell

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Legacy of the Mercenary King (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Pages: 592 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 25th March 2021 by Gollancz (UK) & 23rd March 2021 by Saga Press (US)


Overall, The Two-Faced Queen a good sequel. Similar to its predecessor, the first half was a bit of a struggle for me, but the second half was great.

“To be forgotten feels more like death than death.”

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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: Pawn’s Gambit (Mortal Techniques) by Rob J. Hayes

Book Review: Pawn’s Gambit (Mortal Techniques) by Rob J. Hayes

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ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Felix Ortiz

Cover art designed by: STK.Kreations

Pawn’s Gambit by Rob J. Hayes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Mortal Techniques (Book #2)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy, Wuxia

Pages: 315 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 26th January 2021 by Rob J. Hayes (Self-published)


A great Wuxia adventure with an empathizing redemption arc.

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Cover Reveal: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1) by John Gwynne

Cover Reveal: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1) by John Gwynne

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Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here.

No long introduction from me; the title of this post is self-explanatory, and I’m sure it’s why you’re here. But for those of you who don’t know, John Gwynne is one of my top favorite authors, and I will ALWAYS recommend his books to every epic fantasy reader. The Banished Lands Saga (The Faithful and the Fallen quartet and Of Blood and Bone trilogy) by John Gwynne is one of my top three favorite completed series of all time; probably at the number one spot, actually. Today, I’m beyond honored and gratified to be given the extraordinary opportunity of doing an exclusive cover reveal for The Shadow of the Gods, the first book in The Bloodsworn Saga series—Gwynne’s first series outside of The Banished Lands. If you love epic fantasy with fantastic characterizations and phenomenal battle scenes, make sure to do yourself a favor and read ALL of Gwynne’s books. Without further ado, here’s the epic cover of The Shadow of the Gods!

Cover art by Marcus Whinney

Cover design by Bekki Guyatt

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Book Review: Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke & Hannah K. Chapman, Illustrated by Kaley Bates

Book Review: Why She Wrote by Lauren Burke & Hannah K. Chapman, Illustrated by Kaley Bates

ARC received from publisher, Chronicle Books, in exchange for an honest review.

Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers by Lauren Burke, Hannah K. Chapman, Kaley Bales (Illustrator)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Non-fiction, women’s history, biography, graphic novel, classics

Publication date: 20th April 2021 by Chronicle Books


As I continue my endeavour to read more classics and heading into the new year with fresh reading resolutions, Why She Wrote couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. I wasn’t aware of this book until my co-blogger, Celeste, read and reviewed it most favourably. Furthermore, the first book we picked up in 2021 was Anne Bronte’s debut, Agnes Grey. Knowing that all the Bronte sisters were featured, I thought it would be interesting to read this title in tandem.

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