Stacking the Shelves: 4/13/19

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Received for Review:

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A Time of Blood by John Gwynne

I’m pretty excited to see where this goes. Honestly, I need a little refresher on the events of the previous book (I have vague rememberances) before I really dive into the sequel. Many thanks to Orbit for the finished copy.

The Unbound Empire by Melissa Caruso

I had to have a finished copy of the first book I was ever quoted in! Thanks to Orbit for the finished copy. Also, I’ve already read this and I loved it!!

Knight by Timothy Zahn

This was a surprise arrival from Tor that I hadn’t heard of before. It looks like it’s actually the second book in a series, so I’ll probably end up donating this one.

Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

This sounds REALLY COOL! If I’m looking at things correctly this is actually already out in the UK (2017) but will be making it’s US debut in June. Many thanks to Jo Fletcher Books for the epic black stained pages copy!

Beneath the Twisted Trees by Bradley P. Beaulieu

I can’t believe this is the fourth installment of the Song of the Shattered Sands series already! What drama will unfold and which of the kings will survive this round? Thanks to DAW for the eARC.

Priest of Lies by Peter McLean

Another really awesome new sequel arrived in my approval emails recently. I could hardly put the first book down and I expect this to be equally epic. Thanks to Ace for the eARC.

Crowfall by Ed McDonald

And to round out the cool new books I get to read, we have this one! I can’t wait to see how this series ends – the synopsis promises more Misery than we’ve ever seen. Thanks to Ace for the eARC.

My Purchases:

Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan

I backed the Kickstarter for this so I could get a hardcover book this summer, but the biggest perk may have been that I got the eBook earlier this week! I’ll be making time to read this VERY soon.

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

I’ve been wanting to read this because it’s so very unlike Mark’s other books and best of all? It was FREE on Amazon!

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I finally made time to listen to this book on audio and it was sooooo good! Can’t wait to share my review.

City of Lies by Sam Hawke

I saw some great reviews of this when it was released and decided to go ahead and check it out. I’m very glad I picked this up!

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And the true gem of this haul is my Subterranean Press edition of Morningstar by Pierce Brown! It’s truly lovely and I have all the matchy-matchy numbered editions of the first three books now.

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne – Review

Cover- A Time of Dread

Published: February 20, 2018

Publisher: Orbit Books

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Of Blood and Bone #1

Pages: 512 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The Ben-Elim, a fierce race of warrior-angels, burst into the Banished Lands over a hundred and thirty years ago. They were in pursuit of their eternal enemy, the Kadoshim demon-horde. On that day a great battle was fought, the Ben-Elim and Kadoshim joined by allies from the races of both men and giants, and a great victory was won.

Now much of the Banished Lands is ruled by the Ben-Elim, who have made this world their home, extending their influence and power as they swallow ancient kingdoms into the protective grasp of their ever-extending borders. But peace is fragile within the realm and the Kadoshim that remain are now amassing on the edges of the empire….

Threats long in the shadows are about to strike.


Once again John Gwynne has managed to capture the imagination and attention of his readers! If anything I may end up liking this series more than his first, though I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on why exactly. I think it’s a combination of things.  If you’re new to Gwynne’s work, I would like to point out that this series is new, but is a continuation of his The Faithful and the Fallen series. I definitely think it can be read and enjoyed without having read the preceding series, but those who’ve read those books also will probably get maximum enjoyment.

A Time of Dread is set over a hundred years after the events of The Faithful and the Fallen series detailing the battle between Corban the Bright Star and the Kadoshim and their dark lord Asroth. We have a largely new cast of characters, though some of the long-lived giants are familiar faces. The new characters are refreshing and they all seem to have really fantastic plot arcs thus far. As a matter of fact, each of the POVs is equally interesting to me which is kind of a rare occurrence! I don’t have strong favorite yet, but I’m definitely thinking that Drem and Riv are going to be really important, especially after the conclusion of this book! Man, that was a stunner!

If you’re looking for some good vs. evil that isn’t entirely clear-cut, plus an entirely satisfying amount action this might just be the book for you. There are bear attacks, twisted hybrid monsters, clearly evil bad guys, not so benevolent good guys, fisticuffs, and sword fights. What more could a girl ask for in a fantasy book? Not much. I think I actually like the plot better in this book – maybe it’s because I love beginnings, but I also like that the evil is already present and that the Ben-Elim aren’t turning out to be as good as they were once portrayed. They’re actually a controlling, big-brother ruling class who insist on imposing their rules on the world for the greater good. Things aren’t all cohesive amongst them though, as we come to find out… chaos makes for some interesting chapters.

A Time of Dread has managed a perfect balance of well-written new and old characters, an engaging plot, and a wonderfully apt title. This is set in a time when people are leaving their homes in hopes of gaining a semblance of freedom, there are unspeakable terrors happening on the very doorstep of those who seek to prevent them, and anyone may be an agent of the Kadoshim. I have high hopes for this series and am greatly looking forward to the sequel.

Stacking the Shelves: 2/3/18

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Once again, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted one of these, which is a shame, since they’re one of my favorite blog posts to both share and read!

Received for Review:

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A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

At long last, it’s arriving in the US! I’m looking forward to seeing how Gwynne’s newest series will take shape and how things have changed in the century since The Faithful and the Fallen series occurred. Thanks to Orbit for the finished copy.

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco

Eek!! I’m really looking forward to this one, just to see what Tea does with her powers. She seems to be looking for revenge and it just might be awesome. I actually ended up with two copies of this book so there may be a giveaway for one in the near future! Thanks to Sourcebooks for the ARC!

Verdict on Crimson Fields by M.C. Planck

This was a surprise arrival from Pyr – I didn’t even know this series was on book 4 already! Sadly, I’m a couple books behind, so I don’t think I’ll be reading this one for awhile but the synopsis is pretty awesome.

Into the Green Unknown by Patrick Rogers

This was one of those rare books that I accept a copy from directly from the author AND it’s totally outside my usual genre. I’m really glad I got this one from Patrick Rogers because it was such a cool intro to a region of India I was wholly unfamiliar with! I’ll have a review up for this soon, so stay tuned.

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

Another SPFBO book is going big-time! I dearly hope they don’t change the cover for this because the original is on point. Can’t wait to dig into this one! Thanks to NetGalley and Crown for the eGalley.

The Fairies of Sadieville by Alex Bledsoe

I’ll be honest, I read the synopsis and hit the Request button. Fairies in Appalachia. Count me in, since ya know, I’m from that region and all. I hope it’s magical and strange and worthy of the Rothfuss blurb on the front. And I hope it can be read as a standalone because I goofed and didn’t realize it’s part of a series. Thanks to Tor and NetGalley for the eGalley.

Purchased Books:

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

I picked up the hardcover of this one because it’s BEAUTIFUL and less than $8.00 right now on Amazon.

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

I snagged a copy of this in early December but it took until early January to finally show up on my doorstep so here it is! I love MJS’s books and I hope this will be no different. Definitely can’t wait to see what adventures are in store for Royce and Hadrian. Also, it’s signed which is cool.

And last but certainly not least, my monthly audiobook haul. I love Audible. It affords me so much opportunity to check out books I otherwise wouldn’t have the time to sit down and read a physical copy. This month I picked up Blackwing which I’ve already reviewed as well as Iron Gold and The Cruel Prince which will have reviews forthcoming!

Waiting on Wednesday: A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where bloggers feature a book that we just can’t wait to get our hands on!


Cover- A Time of Dread

US Release: January 9, 2018

I feel like I’m a little late to the game since this has apparently been released in the UK already (you lucky people). I’ve only to wait a few more months here in the US for John Gwynne’s newest book. A Time of Dread returns us to the same world as The Faithful and the Fallen series, but 100 years later. The Ben-Elim rule the Banished Lands, but evil still lurks. I can’t wait to see what Gwynne has in store for his readers with this one!!!

Fictional Fight Club – 2/3/17

Fictional Fight Club is a new weekly feature at Powder & Page where I pair up fictional characters with similar abilities/skills and determine who would win in a fight.


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Corban ben Thannon & Storm vs. Jon Snow & Ghost

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Corban – Wields wolven claws & sword, trained by top tier Jehar warriors, has experience fighting many different enemies in a variety of situations

Storm – wolven, large enough for Corban to ride, has fought draigs, giants, humans, Kadoshim

 

 

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Jon Snow – wields Valyrian steel sword, trained by humans, has fought giants, Wildlings, Whitewalkers (in the show at least)

Ghost – direwolf, ferocious, loyal

 

 

 


Predicted Winners – Corban and Storm

When I first thought of this match-up it seemed much more evenly matched than it does now that I’ve really considered it. While Jon Snow is an excellent swordsman and leader, is he really a match for Corban ben Thannon, who was trained by elite warriors and wields not only a sword, but a claw-style weapon as well? The real tie breaker here is Storm’s size advantage over Ghost. Storm is large enough for Corban to ride into battle, while Ghost is basically a really huge wolf. Both are clever, but I would say that Storm is more experienced in battle, fighting opponents larger and better armored than herself.

This is open for debate in the comments, so have at it! If you have any suggestions or requests for future match-ups, leave those in the comments as well!

Wrath by John Gwynne – Review

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Published: December 6, 2016

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 693 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasures are in his possession. And together with Calidus and his ally Queen Rhin, Nathair will do anything to obtain the remaining Treasures. With all seven under his command, he can open a portal to the Otherworld. Then Asroth and his demon-horde will finally break into the Banished Lands and become flesh.

Meanwhile Corban has been taken prisoner by the Jotun, warrior giants who ride their enormous bears into battle. His warband scattered, Corban must make new allies if he hopes to survive. But can he bond with competing factions of warlike giants? Somehow he must, if he’s to counter the threat Nathair represents.

His life hangs in the balance – and with it, the fate of the Banished Lands.


The ending of a book series is always somewhat bittersweet. Reaching the end can be amazing, but at the same time there’s a good chance you won’t get to read about your favorite characters in anything new. Wrath was a good, solid conclusion and it left the reader with an idea of what each character’s path would hold.

The characters continued to really delight, though John Gwynne really started crushing my soul near the end. People just kept dying off– some of them were like “FINALLY” and a couple others made me tear up just a little.  John Gwynne really knows how to write characters that you end up cheering for and that you’ll remember longer after you close the final page. As the series has progressed I found myself warming to some characters more than I had expected to, namely Veradis and Maquin. I was initially annoyed by Veradis’ blind faith in Nathair, but after he came to see the truth he became much less frustrating. I liked Maquin well enough from his very first appearance, but he didn’t really start growing on me until his encounters with Lykos and the Vin Thalun. He seemed to find his true self and he was a hard but useful man. I would love to see him on screen in action.

From the beginning I knew The Faithful and the Fallen was going to be one of the best fantasy series I’ve read (and will read). The classic fantasy element of good and evil was turned into something much more complicated and grey than usual and seeing in depth perspectives from both sides made it a phenomenal story. Wrath was a wonderful conclusion and I don’t say that lightly, as I find many finales just aren’t quite up to par with my expectations. This did not feel rushed and was obviously done with great care and the desire to deliver a worthy conclusion. I loved it and flew through this nearly 700 page beast of a book.

Overall, Wrath was awesome! I highly recommend The Faithful and the Fallen series to any fan of epic fantasy, because it’s a worthy addition to the genre and you won’t regret it. Plus, those crisp white covers and awesome designs look pretty aesthetic on my shelf.  I hope Mr. Gwynne continues to write and I can’t wait to see what his future as an author holds.

Currently Reading: 1/2/16

Cover- Wrath

Wrath by John Gwynne

AHH!!! I got a copy of Wrath for Christmas, and of course it was going to be the first new book I began reading post holiday madness. I binge read half of it in a single sitting, so obviously it’s great. I can’t wait to see how this one wraps up in the end!

 

 

 

This is my only planned read for the week, but I’m like 99% sure I’ll start something else before the week is out. What that will be is up in the air right now because I have three stacks of books that need to be read!

January 2016 Wrap Up

I had an incredibly productive month of reading, thanks to some longer weekends (thanks to snow and being a bit under the weather). This was a great way to start off 2016 and I’m hoping I can keep up with all the exciting new releases, plus all the other books I have on my TBR! I’m working on reviews for most of these, so keep an eye out in the coming weeks. You can find all of these on Goodreads if you’re interested!

Ruin by John Gwynne – Review

Cover- Ruin

Published: October 13, 2015 (US)

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 751 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Synopsis:

The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures. At his back stands the scheming Calidus and a warband of the Kadoshim, dread demons of the Otherworld. They plan to bring Asroth and his host of the Fallen into the world of flesh, but to do so they need the seven treasures. Nathair has been deceived but now he knows the truth. He has choices to make, choices that will determine the fate of the Banished Lands.

Elsewhere the flame of resistance is growing – Queen Edana finds allies in the swamps of Ardan. Maquin is loose in Tenebral, hunted by Lykos and his corsairs. Here he will witness the birth of a rebellion in Nathair’s own realm.

Corban has been swept along by the tide of war. He has suffered, lost loved ones, sought only safety from the darkness. But he will run no more. He has seen the face of evil and he has set his will to fight it. The question is, how?

With a disparate band gathered about him – his family, friends, giants, fanatical warriors, an angel and a talking crow he begins the journey to Drassil, the fabled fortress hidden deep in the heart of Forn Forest. For in Drassil lies the spear of Skald, one of the seven treasures, and here it is prophesied that the Bright Star will stand against the Black Sun.


After much anticipation, I finally got my hands on a copy of Ruin by John Gwynne. I’ve been waiting to get it since it released in October, but October was a busy book month and I had to make my choices. I was initially drawn to the series because the covers and font were awesome, so I picked up the first book and never looked back. There is a depth and complexity to the series that rivals Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, with good and bad being relative terms and a massive amount of politics and violence for good measure.

I find that these books are best read in close sequence to one another because there are so many characters to keep track of. If you wait a few months (or more) in between like I do it will take awhile to remember who’s who and what was going on during the previous book. I get drawn back in after about a hundred pages and can’t put it down after. The story switches perspectives every chapter, which keeps you from getting burned out on a single character and leaves you wanting more. This constant change of view also keeps the story moving all across the continent, switching sides from good to evil and back again IF those terms even really apply to individuals being manipulated by otherworldly beings.

Speaking of the characters, each and every one gets fleshed out so much more after each book and in Ruin the characters are beginning to converge with one another. This is making for epic battles, betrayal, and so much WOW that I can hardly stand it! The Old Wolf, Maquin is becoming one of my all time favorites, though at times I just had to shake my head at his decisions because he gets himself in the worst situations and it makes me cringe. Corban of course had a great narrative throughout and the ending chapters left me stunned and I even cried a bit. And then babbled to my poor, unsuspecting mother about what just happened, but we won’t go there. Ruin had some of the best twists that I’ve come across in ages – like I said, I was stunned and just couldn’t believe the words before my eyes.

The Faithful and the Fallen series is fantastic, definitely deserving of the time spent reading these enormous novels. Each novel has gotten better and better, which is a sign of a great writer (and planner) in my opinion, as many series fail to impress or get progressively worse with each installment. The cover art alone is worth appreciation – no real flashy artwork, but the font is gorgeous and there’s a surprising amount of detail put into the faint images in the background. I’d love to know the reasoning behind each of the titles because it’s not obvious in the books, though you could certainly find plenty of examples where the words would apply. Check it out and share the book love and let me know your thoughts!