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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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BOOK REVIEW: DAUGHTER OF REDWINTER (THE REDWINTER CHRONICLES, #1) BY ED MCDONALD

BOOK REVIEW: DAUGHTER OF REDWINTER (THE REDWINTER CHRONICLES, #1) BY ED MCDONALD

Daughter of Redwinter

Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Redwinter Chronicles (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 352 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 28th June 2022 by Tor (US) & 30th June 2022 by Gollancz (UK)


Mysterious, honest, and exciting from start to finish, Daughter of Redwinter has the goods.

As a fan of Ed’s Raven’s Mark series, I had been looking forward to seeing what he had in store next. I’m happy to say that Daughter of Redwinter hits the bullseye in many satisfying ways.

Raine is a engaging character, with a strong and singular voice. She’s only seventeen, so she makes some dumb teenager mistakes that are relatable and honest. But she also has a heart of stone and a peerless resolve, which makes her very easy to root for. She has an extremely cool curse/power she was born into, and it gets more and more interesting as the story progresses. I enjoyed how it plays a key role in shaping the core of her worldview instead of simply augmenting it.

Another source of enjoyment was how unexpectedly different the writing was from Raven’s Mark. Ed writes a tight, clean prose and this felt especially well-edited and polished. Not a page or paragraph wasted; every passage was pertinent and compelling and drove the plot forward while developing the characters further. Raven’s Mark was grim, but I would not classify Daughter of Redwinter as a grim story, though it does have some dark moments and heavy themes. Altogether this book felt like a tightly-packaged, well-produced, very well-written story, start to finish. My only complaint is that I’m not a huge fan of the cover. The font and colors feel off-tone to what the story portrays.

This was less of a classical hero’s quest or a rousing good vs. evil story. More than anything, this book had the structure of a good, dark mystery novel. All grey characters whom you didn’t know what side they were on until they end, some good surprise reveals and misdirections, and some well-developed toxic relationships that are unfortunately all too tangible.

I could go on about the interesting magic system in the world, or the religion and lore, but it’s best to go into most of it blind. All in all, this was a real page-turner, one that kept me guessing, and pulling the rug out from under me. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but tensions are kept high while new questions kept rolling in. This is an exciting entry to a new series and I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel.

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: A Numbers Game by RJ Dark

Book Review: A Numbers Game by RJ Dark

ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

A Numbers Game by RJ Dark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Genre: Mystery, crime

Published: 4th June 2021 by Wavesback (Indie)


A Numbers Game was an enjoyable mystery read that has great emotions and the hallmarks of RJ Barker’s humour.

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Book Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Book Review: The Maidens by Alex Michaelides


The Maidens by Alex Michaelides
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher, Macmillan Audio, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The premise for The Maidens immediately piqued my interest. A ritualistic murder on a prestigious college campus, with a Classics professor and his select group of all female students, known as the Maidens, at the center of the intrigue? Yes, please. I love dark academia, especially when combined with the study of Ancient Greek and classical literature. I went in hoping form something along the lines of The Secret History, which I absolutely adore. But I liked what this book pretended to be far more than what it actually was. If that makes sense. Alas, The Maidens fell a bit flat for me.

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Manga Review: Death Note All-in-One Edition (Death Note, #1-13) by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

Manga Review: Death Note All-in-One Edition (Death Note, #1-13) by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

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

(This is a repost of an old review I wrote in December 2017)

Death Note: All-in-One Edition by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Death Note (#1-13)

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Psychological, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Pages: 2400 pages

Published: 5th September 2017 by VIZ Media LLC


Death Note is a masterwork that eventually will become a classic in the manga/anime industry; in my opinion, it already did.

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Book Review: King of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #3) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: King of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #3) by R.J. Barker

King of Assassins by R.J. Barker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, mystery

Published: 7th Aug 2018 by Orbit US & 9th Aug 2018 by Orbit UK


King of Assassins is a powerfully poignant conclusion to a remarkably captivating trilogy.

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Book Review: Blood of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #2) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: Blood of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #2) by R.J. Barker

 

Blood of Assassins by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, mystery

Published: 13th Feb 2018 by Orbit US & 15th Feb 2018 by Orbit UK


An impressive sequel to an excellent debut, Blood of Assassins draws upon the compelling character development of Girton Club-Foot to underscore a storyline which is at once engaging and unpredictable.

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Book Review: Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #1) by R.J. Barker

Book Review: Age of Assassins (The Wounded Kingdom, #1) by R.J. Barker

Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, mystery

Published: 1st August 2017 by Orbit US & 3rd August 2017 by Orbit UK


An excellent debut, Age of Assassins was a well-crafted and compelling coming-of-age tale – one that’s not exactly what you expect a typical assassin story to be.

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