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Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (1st January-30th June 2021)

Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (1st January-30th June 2021)

Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read so far this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2021)

Between 1st January 2021 until 30th June 2021, I’ve read and reviewed 51 books (25k pages).

Please read this first. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. These rules allow me to highlight more authors, and at the same time, I’ll also be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) that I read within this year.

  • Rereads aren’t included.
  • One book per author.
  • The books listed here are not all exclusively published this year; the list consists of the top books I read for the first time within this year. Non-2021 published books on this list will have their first date of publication included.

Do note that although there’s a rank to this list, I HIGHLY recommend every book/series listed below because I loved all of them immensely, and they received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 10 books I’ve read this year so far! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)

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Book review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

Book review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

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

Cover art illustrated by: Marcus Whinney

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bloodsworn Saga (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 496 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 6th May 2021 by Orbit (UK) and 4th May 2021 by Orbit (US)


The Shadow of the Gods is the new benchmark in Norse mythology-inspired stories. This is the fantasy I’ve been waiting for.

In all honesty, this book had as good a chance as possible of becoming a favourite of mine, for I am without a doubt an ardent reader and supporter of John Gwynne and his books, having read and loved all of his previous works. Both The Faithful and the Fallen and Of Blood and Bone are masterpieces in my estimation and occupy treasured spaces on my shelf and within my heart. Nevertheless, no book is a certain thing as writers are only human beings, but I could not contain my excitement when I read that this latest venture of Mr Gwynne was another epic fantasy story, this time with Norse ink in its veins. I believe that mythologies always appeal to a wide fan base, with Norse and Greek, in particular, being personal favourites. And while I am nowhere near well-read on the subjects, I squeed like any fan worthy of the title at the idea of a favourite author shaping a story from the fertile ground that is the Norse culture. On such a foundation The Shadow of the Gods had much to live up to and I tried to curtail my hopes a little. There was no need though. At the end of this story, I was once again in awe at witnessing a master completely comfortable in executing an epically captivating and exciting tale.

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Book review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

Book review: The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) by John Gwynne

I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

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

Cover art illustrated by: Marcus Whinney

The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bloodsworn Saga (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 496 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 6th May 2021 by Orbit (UK) and 4th May 2021 by Orbit (US)


Reading The Shadow of the Gods is equivalent to witnessing a new brilliant legendary Norse-inspired epic fantasy series in the making.

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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

I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

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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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020


2020 has been such a strange, stressful and complicated year.  I took a one-year sabbatical leave from work from mid-2019 and managed to do quite a bit of travelling for about six months before the world got completely turned upside down.  I’ve read/listen over 120 books this year, 73 of which was completed during the first half when I wasn’t working and the entire world was on lockdown.  Getting back to work during the second half in the midst of a global pandemic and a new challenging role did affect my ability to read and also write reviews on a regular basis.

Despite 2020 being such a watershed/dumpster year, it’s been an incredible one for my reading as I’ve completed a lot books ranging from great to masterpieces.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf (many of which were from the same series).  If you’re curious/interested, you also can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top five.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  Almost all of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads, albeit some are quite brief.

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Celeste’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2020)

Celeste’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2020)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top Books Lists. His work is amazing, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have been favored with it. Thank you so much, Felix!

 

If you’d like to see a list of everything I’ve read this year, you can click here to see my year in books for 2020!

2020 was an incredible reading year for me. I read over 150 books, and have found a number of new favorites. I haven’t read as much fantasy this year, but I still managed to find some wonderful new stories that I know will stick with me for a long time to come.  Thank goodness for books, right?  I don’t think I could’ve gotten through the dumpster fire that was 2020 without them. It was incredibly difficult to narrow my list down to twelve books, but I finally managed it. There will be a handful of honorable mentions at the end of this post, for those I just couldn’t bare to not include. I’m taking a page from Petrik and following three rules for my list:

1. Only one book per author.
2. Rereads don’t count.
3. The books were new to me, but didn’t have to be published this year.

Once again, I’m ranking my reads. That being said, every single book on this list was a 5 star read and I highly recommend them all.  You can view my full review of each book (including the honorable mentions) by clicking the link  in each title.  And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2020.

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Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2020)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2020)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists. Check out his portfolio, he’s brilliant.


This list is also available on my Booktube Channel if that’s what you preferred: https://youtu.be/1gXaV7SQVio

 

Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2020)

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Book review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone #3) by John Gwynne

Book review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone #3) by John Gwynne

A Time of Courage by John Gwynne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Of Blood and Bone (Book #3 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Published: 2nd April 2020 by Pan Macmillan (UK) & 7th April 2020 by Orbit (US)

ARC provided by the publisher, Pan Macmillan, in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and the quotes included may have changed in the released copy.

A Time of Courage is the glorious and bittersweet conclusion of 140 hundred years (or I should probably say 2000 years) worth of bloody history in the Banished Lands!

I have to admit that I went into this final book with a lot of trepidation, in addition to the positive excitement and anticipation. Could this book really be on the same level as Wrath, the masterpiece that was the conclusion of the previous quartet? Will I love it as much? Would I feel as much joy, and sorrow and satisfaction? Will I stare at the book, blinking away tears and trying to calm my frantic heart as a beloved character met their end? Will my eyes fly through the pages, during a tension-filled battle or duel, to seek the outcome and make sure my heroes survived? The answers were yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. John Gwynne truly outdid himself in this outstanding finale.

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Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3)

Book Review: A Time of Courage (Of Blood and Bone, #3)

A Time of Courage
A Time of Courage by John Gwynne
My rating: 6 of 5 stars

“Truth and courage are the banners I live by. Love, loyalty and friendship shall be my guiding light. I will be the bright star in the night sky, the candle in the darkness. The defender of the innocent, protector of the weak. I will bring hope to the lost, give my life for the helpless. With Truth as my shield, and Courage as my sword, I shall stand against the darkness. From this day on, until the time of my death.”
— The Oath of The Order of the Bright Star.

I firmly believe that John Gwynne is one of the most gifted, powerful fantasy authors of our age. In the course of this trilogy and the quartet preceding it, Gwynne was able to create a world that feels as real as our own. The lore he wove into each book was fascinating and completely transportive. He crafted a compendium of characters for whom I cared so deeply that I rejoiced and wept with them as if they were my friends in reality instead of merely fictional. And don’t even get me started on his action-scene prowess. The fact that he can keep a battle going for 200 pages and keep everything in such incredibly clear focus that boredom has no hope of setting in and tension is so well maintained that I never once felt tempted to skim is an incredible accomplishment that I don’t think has been matched by any other author I’ve read outside of Brandon Sanderson. I honestly don’t know that anything about the series as a whole or this book in particular could’ve been improved in any way. In A Time of Courage, Gwynne penned an incredible finale that moved me deeply and left me feeling weepy and exhausted and content.

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TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)

TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)


2020 has so far been a truly strange, stressful and complicated year, but reading wise it has been pretty incredible for me.  I’ve read/listen to 73 books during this first six months of the year and quite a sizeable chunk of these garnered 4-stars and above.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf in the same period of time.  If you’re interested, you can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top three, of which two are tied for first place.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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