Browsed by
Tag: 4.5 stars

Blog Tour: Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Blog Tour: Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. We, the Novel Notions team, are thrilled and honored that we have the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree. This is the super hyped cozy fantasy book, Travis Baldree’s debut novel, which I read and reviewed a few months ago. Today is the UK release date for the traditionally published edition of Legends and Lattes, so I thought might as well re-shape my review for the book.  Here’s why you should read Legends and Lattes if you somehow haven’t read it!


Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Slice-of-Life

Pages: 318 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 10th November 2022 by Tor (UK) & 8th November 2022 by Tor Books (US)


Legends and Lattes is the wholesome and cozy fantasy you didn’t know you need.

Read More Read More

Book Review: Age of the King (The Echoes Saga, #6) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Book Review: Age of the King (The Echoes Saga, #6) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath

Age of the King by Philip C. Quaintrell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #2 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 678 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 4th October 2019 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)


Age of the King is not only the best of the second trilogy in The Echoes Saga, but it is also the best in the entire series so far.

“Every life matters… Only when weight is given to the individual will the many thrive.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence, #1) by Rebecca Ross

Book Review: A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence, #1) by Rebecca Ross


A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A River Enchanted is lovely fantasy brimming with Celtic-inspired lore. I felt utterly transported by it. The setting was lush, a balance of both familiar and fresh. The cast was varied, with some very interesting characters; some were even lovable. The magic was wild and enchanting and costly, and fascinatingly different across the island. The plot and the mystery element were intriguing enough to keep me invested while letting the setting and lore and characters be the true stars of the show. And the romance was beautifully balanced, core to the story without ever overwhelming the plot. There were multiple slow-burn relationships in these pages that didn’t capture me at first, but my investment in them grew as the story progressed. While it did take me a while to warm up to various aspects of this book, I grew to love it.

Read More Read More

Book Review: Age of War (The Legends of the First Empire, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Age of War (The Legends of the First Empire, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art illustrated by Marc Simonetti

Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Legends of the First Empire (Book #3 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic fantasy

Pages: 464 pages (Mass Market Paperback)

Published: 3rd July 2018 by Del Rey


Age of War is the best of the series so far. And it is also among Sullivan’s list of best novels.

Read More Read More

Book Review: Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) by Octavia Butler

Book Review: Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1) by Octavia Butler

Cover art illustrated by Paul Lewin

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Earthseed Duology (Book #1 of 2)

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic

Pages: 356 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: October 1993 by Del Rey


Parable of the Sower is hard to put down, harrowing, and much darker than I expected.

“There is no end
To what a living world
Will demand of you.”

Read More Read More

Book Review: Shadows of Self (Mistborn: Wax and Wayne, #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Shadows of Self (Mistborn: Wax and Wayne, #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Mistborn: Wax and Wayne (Book #2 of 4), Mistborn Saga (Book #5 of 7)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Steampunk

Pages: 383 pages (International Paperback Edition)

Published: 6th October 2015 by Tor Books (US) & 8th October 2015 by Gollancz (UK)

Read More Read More

BOOK REVIEW: UNTIL THE LAST (THE LAST WAR BOOK 3) BY MIKE SHACKLE

BOOK REVIEW: UNTIL THE LAST (THE LAST WAR BOOK 3) BY MIKE SHACKLE

Until the Last by Mike Shackle
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Grimdark
Pages: 772 pages
Published: 21st July 2022, Gollancz


Until the Last concludes one of the more harrowing, anxiety-ridden, emotional whiplashes of a story I’ve read this year. It squeezes the tiniest shred of hope from the grimmest of situations and proceeds to hammer it down to a barely visible spark. But somehow, it’s enough for our protagonists to cling to as they solider on to try and liberate their beloved Jia from the colonization of the evil Egril empire. And that’s one of the biggest draws of the trilogy: how these characters can still hold on and press forward while things fall apart around them at such a grand scale. This is a violent, unforgiving tale that tests the boundaries of human willpower, and it’s fascinating to see the results.

The rebel Jian army, led by Zorique, Tinnstra, Aasgod and Ralasis, are marching their way north to Aisair for the final battle against Raaku, the self-proclaimed son of a God, and his Egirl army of Skulls, Chosen, and other winged demons and giant monsters. They face impossible odds, and the suffering is immense. There are fascinating POV characters carried over from previous books that give you perspective from different areas of the world: an in-the-trenches view from Ange, a rebuilding effort from the unlikely leader Yaz, a spy mission from Wenna… and then there’s Jax. Poor, wretched Jax. If you think Jax had it tough in the first two books, Shackle saved some of the best (worst?) for last for everyone’s favorite one-armed general. He’s the trilogy’s resident punching bag, the doomed soul, and Shackle’s brutality knows no bounds. I had to pause for some deep breaths after some of Jax’s chapters.

One of the strongest parts of Shackle’s writing is his pacing. Every chapter was key in moving the story forward, and they usually only took ten minutes or less to read through. It led to a ‘just one more chapter’ scenario each night and kept me up far too late. There wasn’t a single POV that I didn’t want to know what was going to happen next. There were several moments of “did that really just happen?” and a couple of good mysteries that weren’t revealed until the final pages, so there was always an excuse to keep pressing forward. The action was nonstop, but it was the tough moral choices and the characters’ grit that held my interest the most.

The Last War is a brutal, unforgiving series with hard choices and harder truths. If you like your stories grim with characters of questionable moral fiber, in a world where hope is the very thing that could kill you, then you’ve found the perfect series to keep you riveted.

Book Review: Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman

Book Review: Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman


Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received an audio copy of this novel from the publisher, Harper Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that’s what initially drew me to Pandora. While not yet officially available in the US, it’s been out in the UK since January of 2022, and I had read some mixed reviews about it. But something about it still called to me, and when the audio became available to request on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance. I’m incredibly glad that I did, because this story was incredible, and I actually don’t know that I would have enjoyed it quite so much in any other format.

Read More Read More

Book Review: Until the Last (The Last War, #3) by Mike Shackle

Book Review: Until the Last (The Last War, #3) by Mike Shackle

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

Cover illustration by: Tomas Almeida

Until the Last by Mike Shackle

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Last War (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic fantasy, Grimdark Fantasy

Pages: 784 pages

Published: 21st July 2022 by Gollancz


The Last War is over. Another favorite ongoing series concluded.

The Last War trilogy by Mike Shackle has been one of my favorite ongoing series since I read both We Are the Dead and A Fool’s Hope in 2020. Now that it’s finished, I can safely say this has become one of my favorite fantasy trilogies. And it is undoubtedly one of the most underrated fantasy series out there. Despite talking and shouting about this series so many times for the past two years, it seems like I still need to shout about it more because it seriously deserves so much more recognition. It is shocking how relatively few fantasy readers talk about this trilogy. I don’t think you can go wrong with reading The Last War trilogy if you love reading a war story or military fantasy series. Especially if you love reading a fantasy series that revolves around ordinary people rising up to do everything they can to survive and fight back. At all costs.

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Veiled Throne (The Dandelion Dynasty, #3) by Ken Liu

Book Review: The Veiled Throne (The Dandelion Dynasty, #3) by Ken Liu

Cover art illustrated by: Sam Weber

The Veiled Throne by Ken Liu

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Dandelion Dynasty (Book #3 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Silkpunk

Pages: 1008 pages (Hardcover Edition)

Published: 7th December 2021 by Saga Press (US) & 11th November 2021 by Head of Zeus (UK)


The Veiled Throne is a marvelous story. It is a unique and superbly-written first half to the concluding installment of The Dandelion Dynasty.

“Though each individual mortal experiences life for but a score of years, they can draw upon a store of stories left by all their forbearers. The race of humankind grows toward infinity, even as the nature of each individual is limited. Nature may describe tendencies and circumscribe potentialities, but it is within the power of each soul to nurture itself for another life, to imagine a course not taken, to strive for a different view. Through that yearning by the finite for the infinite, the portraits painted by all the mortal eyes may yet piece together a grander truth than our divine understanding.”

Read More Read More