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Author: TS Chan

Book Review: The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity, #1) by Rachel Aaron

Book Review: The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity, #1) by Rachel Aaron

ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review

Cover Art by Luisa Preißler.

The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow by Rachel Aaron

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Crystal Calamity (Book 1)

Genre: Fantasy, historical fantasy, alternate history

Published: 1st June 2022 (self-published)


The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow was another effortless winner from Rachel Aaron, brimming with imagination, wonderful characters and captivating magic. 

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : May 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : May 2022

Hello all!  Welcome back to my monthly wrap-up.

Amazingly, I found my Book of the Month for May right at the very beginning of the month, but that’s not to say that the books that came after that were not good.  Most of them were great reads (in fact, only one book disappointed me), and I’m happy to say that the series conclusion that I was looking forward to delivered very satisfactorily.   I did start to feel a slight burn-out from reading almost non-stop fantasy (albeit mostly Middle Grade) and ended the month with two crime/mystery thrillers.

NB. Books are rated within its genre.  For avoidance of doubt, rereads are not considered for Book of the Month.

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : April 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : April 2022

Hello all!  Welcome back to my monthly wrap-up.  I can’t believe that four months had already gone by this year.   One positive development so far in 2022 is that international borders are opening up and I’m looking forward to be able to travel again, one of my other favourite things to do besides reading.

April was another great month of reading, as we continued our Middle Grade series reads and started the epic reread of all the Mistborn books in preparation for the release of The Lost Metal in November this year.

NB. Books are rated within its genre.  For avoidance of doubt, rereads are not considered for Book of the Month.

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : March 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : March 2022

Hi everyone!  Wow, Middle Grade March was a very full month of reading for me.  Aside from the fact that that MG books tend to be easy and fast to read, most of the ones that we’ve chosen to buddy read for the month of March were very enjoyable as well.  In total, I’ve managed to complete 11 novels this month, which was quite a record.

I didn’t only read Middle Grade this month, as I was working towards finishing two adult series – The Winternight Trilogy and The Riyria Revelations, as well as continuing with some classic (horror) short stories from Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury.  I also couldn’t resist picking up a self-published stand-alone fantasy novel which everyone was raving about on social media, and I’m so glad that I’ve done so because it was definitely one of my Books of the Month.  Yups, I couldn’t pick between two novels for BotM.

So let’s get the show on the road shall we?

NB. Books are rated within its genre.

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : February 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : February 2022

Hi everyone, I’m back with my monthly wrap-up for February.

With the shorter month and the Chinese festivities of the Lunar New Year (which means more time spent with family and friends instead of my nose in my books), I only managed to complete 5 novels, a couple of Sherlock Holmes novellas and a handful of short stories.

I’ll start with the novel which was the book of the month for me.

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TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : January 2022

TS’s Monthly Wrap-Up : January 2022

Hi everyone!

I’m trying something new this year as my review mojo (whatever there was left of it) seemed to have finally vanished into oblivion.  Instead of writing individual book reviews, I’ll be posting a monthly wrap-up post on what I’ve read for the month.  I still do write short reviews and thoughts on my Goodreads profile, so this post will be sort of an summary and reflection upon the month that was.

I’ve read 6 books and several short stories in the month of January, most of them are buddy reads with my co-bloggers.

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TS’s Best Reads of 2021

TS’s Best Reads of 2021

This is my journey in books for 2021!

Hi everyone, TS here!  Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that I’ve been inconsistent in my blogging/reviewing on Novel Notions this year.   I couldn’t find the energy or will or brain-power as I found myself in a new expanded role at work that has a challenging learning curve, and discovered that I enjoy cooking and baking (even embarked on sourdough) so much that I started spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

I did manage to meet my reading challenge of 100 books this year regardless, and it’s probably the most diverse year of reading that I’ve had in my entire life.   While fantasy remains my favourite genre for its sense of wonder, I found myself gravitating a lot towards mysteries this year, and also reading a lot more non-fiction.

I’ve decided to organise my best reads of 2021 a bit differently from prior years, somewhat thematically instead of the usual parameters and rankings.

And we’ll start with….

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Book Review: The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child Trilogy, #3) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: The Bone Ship’s Wake (The Tide Child Trilogy, #3) by R.J. Barker

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

The Bone Ship’s Wake by R.J. Barker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Published: 30th September 2021 by Orbit


Highly satisfying and achingly emotional, The Bone Ship’s Wake was the unforgettable conclusion that I was hoping for in this phenomenal trilogy.

How did this even happen – a seafaring fantasy story becoming one of my favourites? Hats off to R.J. Barker as he did something truly extraordinary. His excellent debut trilogy, The Wounded Kingdom made me eager to try whatever he writes next, and now The Tide Child shot him up to become one of my insta-buy fantasy authors.

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Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy, #2) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: Call of the Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy, #2) by R.J. Barker

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

Call of the Bone Ships by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Tide Child (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High fantasy

Published: 24th November 2020 by Orbit


An excellent sequel filled with brutal and bloody seafaring adventures, Call of the Bone Ships elevated the story with remarkable character work.

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Book Review: Cytonic (Skyward, #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Cytonic (Skyward, #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson

My rating:  4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Skyward (Book 3 of 4)

Genre: Science fiction, young adult

Published: 23rd November 2021 by Gollancz (UK) and Delacorte Press (US)


No surprises, Cytonic was a superb read filled with brilliantly creative worldbuilding and compelling characterisation that I’ve always expected, and received, from Sanderson.

It all started with a novella that he wrote and submitted to a magazine way back before he was even published. That piece of work received an honourable mention at the Writers of the Future contest in 2003, and after substantial re-editing in 2008 won first place in the UPC Science Fiction Award in Spain, and was published in the Oct/Nov 2008 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.  However, for the most of the past decade, most readers have only known Sanderson as a bestselling fantasy author as aside from a few short stories, he had not really written a science fiction series.  That is, not until Skyward came about – and it was just as fantastic as his fantasy writing. The fact that it’s YA took away nothing from his ability to spin the most incredibly engaging stories set in the most imaginative settings.

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