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Book Review: Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art is done by: Larry Rostant

Rise of Empire by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Revelations (Book #3-4 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 802 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 8th April 2010 by Orbit


It’s safe to say now that with each installment, each book in the The Riyria Revelations series consistently gets better and better in quality. The second omnibus in The Riyria Revelations titled Rise of Empire consists of the third book, Nyphron Rising, and the fourth book, The Emerald Storm, of the series. Whether on the first or second read, Rise of Empire is overall a superior collection of novels compared to the previous omnibus: Theft of Swords. Similar to my Theft of Swords review, I’ll start my review by showing you another beautiful cover art of the series done right by Marc Simonetti, and also a beautiful fanart of a scene in The Emerald Storm.

“Power rises to the top like cream and dominates the weak with cruelty disguised as — and often even believed to be — benevolence.”

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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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Book Review: Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art is done by: Larry Rostant

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Revelations (Book #1-2 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 694 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 23rd November 2011 by Orbit


It’s been five years (January 2017) since I first read through The Riyria Revelations, and I honestly didn’t expect I would ever read through this series again. That changed after last year. Last year, out of nowhere, I suddenly missed Royce, Hadrian, and the characters of The Riyria Revelations. And I ended up reading through The Riyria Chronicles, the prequel series to The Riyria Revelations, which I enjoyed immensely. After I finished the first two books in The Riyria Chronicles, I immediately knew I MUST read The Riyria Revelations again because I knew that my experience of it will be improved significantly. And just from reading Theft of Swords, the first omnibus in The Riyria Revelations, I can already confirm the accuracy of my prediction. This review will be different and longer than usual. I will keep my thoughts on my first read intact for newcomers to the series, and I will also elaborate on why things worked so much better on reread.

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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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Celeste’s Top 21 Books of the Year (2021)

Celeste’s Top 21 Books of the Year (2021)


At last, 2021 is drawing to a close.  Or, as I like to call it, 2020 part 2.  While the year wasn’t the best, I did have a pretty great reading year.  According to Goodreads, I read 110 books this year.  According to my own spreadsheet, I read 192.  That 82 book difference is comprised largely of various long, spicy romance series that I didn’t want to have to review because I was consuming them so quickly, so I made the decision to not include them on Goodreads.  But I wanted to acknowledge them here.  This was the year of the romance novel for me.  Romance has never been my genre of choice, but I found so much solace in it this year.  For the first time, I truly understand why there are so many dedicated romance readers out there, and now I happily consider myself one of them.  Four novels on this list are romances, in fact.

While I read a metric ton of romance, I think I read fairly widely this year.  This list includes fantasy, mystery, thriller, horror, sci-fi, and literary fiction.  One of the biggest common denominators on this list is actually Greek mythology.  I’ve always loved mythology, and this year I read some amazing books retelling some of those myths in fun and refreshing ways.  This is something I hope to find even more of next year.

As always, I’m following Petrik’s example here.
– One entry per author. (But not always only one book.  I’m cheating this year.  You’ll see what I mean.)
– Rereads aren’t included.
– The books on this list were new to me, not necessarily new. They might not have been published this year, but this was my first time reading them.
– All of these books were either 4.5 or 5 star reads for me.

Links to my Goodreads reviews of each book will be included below. And now, without further ado, here are my favorite books of 2021!


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Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2021)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2021)

This list is also available on my Booktube Channel if that’s what you preferred: https://youtu.be/wZY-JG9HUgQ

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)

It’s that time of the year again, y’all. 2021 is ending in a week. This year, I managed to read 130 books. This number includes 72 traditionally published books, 21 self-published/indie books, 37 manga volumes (I’ve read so many more manga volumes but I’ve decided to only include 37 here.)

In comparison to the previous years, whether it’s by pages count or the number of books, this is my lowest reading performance so far. There are details behind this reason, but really when it comes down to it, it’s because this is the first full year I became a Booktuber. In addition to reading and writing reviews, now I also record, edit, and upload videos to my YouTube Channel. My reading “performance” definitely suffers because of it, but not going to lie, I’m happy to make that sacrifice. As for the quality of the books I read, this is another incredible reading year, so let’s get to it immediately. As usual, I will be applying a few rules into this list:

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 20 books I’ve read in 2021! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page

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Book Review: The Death of Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: The Death of Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Chronicles (Book #3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Published: 3rd November 2015 by Riyria Enterprises (self-published)


It should come as no surprise that I absolutely loved The Death of Dulgath, which was just as good if not even better upon reread.

Aside from Sanderson, I have one other major fictional addiction, and that is Riyria. I could never get enough of reading about the duo of Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, and have read The Riyria Revelations and the first two books of The Riyria Chronicles three times.

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Book Review: The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter (The Riyria Chronicles, #4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter (The Riyria Chronicles, #4) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art illustrated by: Marc Simonetti

The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Chronicles (Book #4)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 480 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 5th December 2017 by Riyria Enterprises, LLC (Self-published)


As always, another great book in the series, and now I’m fully caught up with The Riyria Chronicles. I hope it won’t be too long for Drumindor to come out.

“Things will change, but not all at once… You can’t obtain respect at the point of a sword, not from people who despise us. Respect needs to be earned. Trust needs to be built up over time, over generations.”

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Book Review: The Death of Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

Book Review: The Death of Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles, #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

Cover art illustrated by: Marc Simonetti

The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Riyria Chronicles (Book #3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 408 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 15th October 2015 by Riyria Enterprises, LLC (Self-published)


The Death of Dulgath is the best volume in The Riyria Chronicles so far.

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