Sunday 25 February 2024

The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang - A Review

 


“I’ve never needed a sword to protect you—to raise you the way your father wanted. Caring for my family meant putting away the fighter, so I did.”
― M.L. Wang, The Sword of Kaigen

This book is magnificent in very aspect of it and if you haven't read it yet, you should go and read it now.

The Sword of Kaigen is a japanese-inspired military fantasy standalone and it explores the complexities of family dynamics, the weight of honor and tradition, all set against the backdrop of an impending war. The book is adventurous but at the same time emotional, with strong character development and amazing world building.

Our main charcters, Misaki and Mamoru, are perfectly written but they are not perfect. They have their flaws and that makes them better. 
The world and the setting feel very unique. The author has done a great research and everything is spot on. 
Lastly, the ending of the book was very satisfying and everything wrapped up nicely.

Rating: 5 Stars

About the book:

A mother struggling to repress her violent past,
A son struggling to grasp his violent future,
A father blind to the danger that threatens them all.

When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?

High on a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’

Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.

Misaki told herself that she left the passions of her youth behind when she married into the Matsuda house. Determined to be a good housewife and mother, she hid away her sword, along with everything from her days as a fighter in a faraway country. But with her growing son asking questions about the outside world, the threat of an impending invasion looming across the sea, and her frigid husband grating on her nerves, Misaki finds the fighter in her clawing its way back to the surface.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina
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Friday 9 February 2024

The Forgotten Beasts f Eld by Patricia A. McKillip - A Review

 


"You can weave your life so long -- only so long, and then a thing in the world out of your control will tug at one vital thread and leave you patternless and subdued.”

― Patricia A. McKillip, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

To celebrate its 50th anniversary of The Forgotten Beasts of Elm the publisher (Tachyon Publications) are releasing a special edition of the book with many beautiful illustrations by Stephanie Law. 

I haven't read anything by Patricia A. McKillip before and this book intrigued so much that I will definitely read more of her works. 

This book was really magical and with very beautiful and powerful writing. It feels like you are reading a fairytale but a modern one. There is no much world building but that does not matter. We have magical talking animals and powerful wizards. 

It is an atmospheric and character-driven story, a story of love, revenge and forgiveness.

This edition will be published on February 29th & you do not want to miss it!

Rating: 4 Stars

About the book:

Fifty years ago, the soon-to-be celebrated young author Patricia A. McKillip (the Riddle-Master trilogy) penned the tale of an iron-willed young sorceress. Brought vividly to life by McKillip's gorgeously lush prose, Sybel, living with her captivating menagerie, is powerful and resourceful, yet headstrong and flawed. Sybel and The Forgotten Beasts of Eld continue to enrapture new generations of readers, and they continue to inspire generations of new fantasy writers. This lovely 50th anniversary hardcover special edition features cover art by World Fantasy Award-winner Thomas Canty and a brand new introduction by bestselling fantasy author Marjorie Liu (The Tangleroot Palace).

Sybel, the heiress of powerful wizards, needs the company of no-one outside her gates. In her exquisite stone mansion, she is attended by exotic, magical Riddle-master Cyrin the boar; the treasure-starved dragon Gyld; Gules the Lyon, tawny master of the Southern Deserts; Ter, the fiercely vengeful falcon; Moriah, feline Lady of the Night. Sybel only lacks the exquisite and mysterious Liralen, which continues to elude her most powerful enchantments.

But when a soldier bearing an infant arrives, Sybel discovers that the world of man and magic is full of both love and deceit, and the possibility of more power than she can possibly imagine.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!

Athina

Thursday 8 February 2024

The Hurricane Wars (The Hurricane Wars #1) by Thea Guanzon - A Review

 

“You've been fighting all your life, Your instinct is to strike first, before anyone can hurt you. But, sometimes it's the blow the molds us. Taking it. Letting it ring against our defenses, until we are assured in the knowledge that, when it's over, we will still be standing.”

― Thea Guanzon, The Hurricane Wars

The Hurricane Wars is a fantasy romance and the 1st book in a series. I have heard many conflicting reviews but I really enjoyed reading this one last month and I cannot wait for a sequel.

The book has a very intricate political backdrop and magic system that makes it even more interesting. I hope we get to see more of that in the sequels.
The author takes inspiration from the mythology and lore of her native Philippines that I really enjoyed.
There is a lot of information in the first part of the book that is necessary to the story but makes it a little bit slow paced.

The writing of the author is very beautiful. It is very expressive and flowery.
We follow the story through two POVs from our main characters and the author can seamlessly transition from one POV to the other. The main trope here (and one of my favourites) is enemies to lovers. I really liked the dynamic between Talasyn and Alaric, their chemistry was vey clear. 

Rating: 4 Stars

About the book:

The Night Empire will rule all.
Nothing can stand in the way of its might and power.
Little by little, year by year, the Hurricane Wars take more and more from those who resists the empire’s supremacy.
And yet, there is hope in the darkness.
One lone light stands against the empire.

Talasyn was left on the steps of a Sardovian orphanage as a baby. All she has ever known are the Hurricane Wars, as her people fight for freedom from the tyranny of the Night Emperor Gaheris. But are they her people? Talasyn dreams of one day finding where she comes from – her true place, family, and the source of the Lightweave magic that flows through her veins like sunlight.

Alaric of House Ossinast, Master of the Shadowforged Legion and Gaheris’s only son and heir has been forged into a weapon by his father. Tasked with obliterating the Sardovian Allford alliance with the strength of his armies and mighty Shadow magic, all Alaric can see is their goal: extinguish all threats to the empire.

That is until he sees Talasyn burning brightly on the battlefield with the magic that killed his grandfather, turned his father into a monster, and ignited the Hurricane Wars. He tries and fails to kill her, his now greatest enemy slipping through his fingers.

But a greater threat is coming. One that will overshadow the Hurricane Wars.

Will these mortal enemies be able to come together to confront it or is everything that has been fought over for so long about to be destroyed?

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina

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Wednesday 31 January 2024

January 2024 Reading Wrap up

 Hello everyone & Happy Wednesday!!

I cannot believe that we are already at the end of January. This month felt like it flew by. 
Anyway, as it is the last day of the month , it is only appropriate to share my monthly reading wrap up.


January was a really good reading month as I managed to read 7 books  (2 ebooks & 5 physical books) and among then was my first 5 star read of the year.

In more detail, I read:

 The Darkness Before Them by Matthew Ward

The Darkness Before Them by Matthew Ward is the first book in The Soulfire Saga and it is an epic fantasy book and the beginning if a new series by the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Read my full review here



 The Old Man of the Moon by Shen Fu (Penguin LBC #60) 

This is a very interesting story of a man who loved his wife very very much.
It is a true portrayal of enduring love and the challenges of marriage in 18th-century China It focuses on the couple's emotional journey and the power of their relationship.

Rating: 3 Stars



 Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs 

Ink Blood Sister Scribe follows a family tasked with guarding a trove of magical but deadly books, and the shadowy organization that will do anything to get them back...even murder.

Rating: 5 Stars

Read my full review here


Trimalchio's Feast by Petronius (Penguin LBC #21) 

This book contains a selection of The Satyricon by Petronius.
I do not know if it is the translation or the book itself but this one was not for me.

Rating: 1 Star




The Hurricane Wars by Thea Guanzon 

The Night Empire will rule all. Nothing can stand in the way of its might and power.  Little by little, year by year, the Hurricane Wars take more and more from those who resists the empire’s supremacy.  And yet, there is hope in the darkness.  One lone light stands against the empire.

Rating: 4 Stars

Review to come soon


Come Close by Sappho (Penguin LBC #74) 

I enjoyed reading this collection

Rating: 3 Stars







 The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip

A classic tale of an iron-willed young sorceress and her captivating menagerie.
I really liked reading this classic fantasy book and now I am intrigued to read more of the author's work.

Rating: 4 Stars

Review to come soon


How many books did you read in January?

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina

Sunday 28 January 2024

Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs - A Review


 "Some books should never be opened."
Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Torzs

Ink Blood Sister Scribe follows a family tasked with guarding a trove of magical but deadly books, and the shadowy organization that will do anything to get them back...even murder.

That brief synopsis was all I wanted to know before reading this book. I knew that I would love it from that sentence alone and I did. Ink Blood Sister Scribe is my first 5 Star read of 2024 and I think that if you are looking for a captivating and atmospheric tale of family, magic, and mystery, you should check this out.

I loved everything about it. The book is mysterious and adventurous and definitely a page-turner. I really liked the writing style and the storyline with all of its revelations and plot twists. It had my guessing all the time. 

I usually don't like that much contemporary fantasy but this book was so good that I hardly even noticed that. Finally, I really liked the magic system but I would prefer it if we learned more about it or if it was more present.

Rating: 5 Stars

About the book:

Joanna Kalotay lives alone in the woods of Vermont, the sole protector of a collection of rare books; books that will allow someone to walk through walls or turn water into wine. Books of magic.

Her estranged older sister Esther moves between countries and jobs, constantly changing, never staying anywhere longer than a year, desperate to avoid the deadly magic that killed her mother. Currently working on a research base in Antarctica, she has found love and perhaps a sort of happiness.

But when she finds spots of blood on the mirrors in the research base, she knows someone is coming for her, and that Joanna and her collection are in danger.

If they are to survive, she and Joanna must unravel the secrets their parents kept hidden from them - secrets that span centuries and continents, and could cost them their lives...

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina
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Wednesday 17 January 2024

The Darkness Before Them by Matthew Ward (The Soulfire Saga #1) - A Review

Hello everyone & Happy Wednesday!!

We are in the middle of the week and so I thought that it would be nice to share with you a book review. 


 

The Darkness Before Them by Matthew Ward is the first book in The Soulfire Saga and it is an epic fantasy book and the beginning if a new series by the author.

It introduces readers to a world ruled by a dangerous immortal king, where souls fuel magic, and a supernatural mist known as the Veil threatens to engulf the land. It is a book set in a dark fantasy world and it has a lot of action. Set in a world of ancient myth and dangerous magic, The Darkness Before Them begins a heart-pounding adventure where a thief dares to seek vengeance - and finds herself on the path to war.

I really liked the writing style and how intricate the world building and the magic system was. I enjoyed the story despite finding it a little bit slow paced and complicated at the beginning. There are many twists and turns that make the book really engaging. There is a lot of political intrigue and many betrayals that you do not anticipate.

Rating: 3 Stars


About the book:

The start of a new epic fantasy series packed with intrigue, magic and adventure

These are dark times for the Kingdom of Khalad. As the magical mists of the Veil devour the land, the populace struggles beneath the rule of ruthless noble houses and their uncaring immortal king.

Kat doesn't care about any of that. A talented thief, she's pursuing one big score that will settle the debt that destroyed her family. No easy feat in a realm where indentured spirits hold vigil over every vault and treasure room. However, Kat has a unique she can speak to those spirits, and even command them. She'll need every advantage she can get.

Kat's not a hero. She just wants to be free. To have her old life back. But as rebellion rekindles and the war for Khalad's future begins, everyone - Kat included - will have to pick a side.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina
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Thursday 4 January 2024

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood - A Review



 “He told me once that sometimes, with some people, it's not about winning or losing, That with some people, it's just about playing. Though for the longest time, I didn't really believe him.”
― Ali Hazelwood, Check & Mate

Check & Mate was the first Ali Hazelwood book I read and it was a 5-Star read for me! I loved her writing style and now I need to read her other books too.

Check & Mate is a clever and sweet YA romance book, where we follow our two main characters Mallory and Nolan through their journey as rival chess players. I loved the tension and the banter between our main characters. It's actually an enemies-to-lovers book but not only that. I also really liked the story, it is heartwarming and engaging.

One of the main themes of the book is how male dominated is the chess space and I really like her approach on that matter. 

Rating: 5 Stars

About the book:

Mallory Greenleaf is done with chess. Every move counts nowadays; after the sport led to the destruction of her family four years earlier, Mallory's focus is on her mom, her sisters, and the dead-end job that keeps the lights on. That is, until she begrudgingly agrees to play in one last charity tournament and inadvertently wipes the board with notorious "Kingkiller" Nolan Sawyer: current world champion and reigning Bad Boy of chess.

Nolan's loss to an unknown rook-ie shocks everyone. What's even more confusing? His desire to cross pawns again. What kind of gambit is Nolan playing? The smart move would be to walk away. Resign. Game over. But Mallory's victory opens the door to sorely needed cash-prizes and despite everything, she can't help feeling drawn to the enigmatic strategist....

As she rockets up the ranks, Mallory struggles to keep her family safely separated from the game that wrecked it in the first place. And as her love for the sport she so desperately wanted to hate begins to rekindle, Mallory quickly realizes that the games aren't only on the board, the spotlight is brighter than she imagined, and the competition can be fierce (-ly attractive. And intelligent...and infuriating...)

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina



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Sunday 31 December 2023

Favourite Books of 2023 (Blogmas 2023 - Day 31)

 Hello everyone!!

Today is the last day of the year and I thought it would be appropriate to end my attempt at Blogmas with my favourite books of 2023




Here are my 12 favourite books of the year. One book for every month of 2023.

January 2023

One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig

The 1st book in The Shepherd King duology

Rating: 5 Stars

Check my review here



February 2023

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

The 1st book in The Luminaries series

Rating: 5 Stars

Check my review here



March 2023

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The 1st book in the Niebla trilogy.

Rating: 5 Stars

Check my review here



April 2023

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

The 1st book in the Before The Tales from the Café series

Rating: 5 Stars

Check my review here



May 2023

The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent

The 1st book in the Crowns of Nyaxia series.

Rating: 5 Stars

Check my review here



June 2023

The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King by Carissa Broadbent

The 2nd book in the Crowns of Nyaxia series.

Rating: 4 Stars

Check my review here



July 2023

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

The 1st book in The Empyrean trilogy.

Rating: 5 Stars

Check my review here



August 2023

The Martyr by Anthony Ryan

The 2nd book in The Covenant of Steel trilogy.

Rating: 4 Stars

Check my review here



September 2023

Witch Hat Atelier, vol 1 by Kamome Shirahama

Rating: 5 Stars

Check my review here





October 2023

Foxglove by Adalyn Grace

The 2nd book in the Belladonna trilogy.

Rating: 4 Stars

Check my review here



November 2023

The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab

The 1st book in the Threads of Power series

Rating: 5 Stars

Check my review here



December 2023

Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood

Rating: 5 Stars

Review to come soon





Among all these books my favourite of the year is The Fragile Threads of Power by V. E. Schwab. I do not think that this was a surprise. Victoria is my favourite author and I love anything she writes. This book was my most anticipated release of the whole year.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina


Friday 29 December 2023

My Priority TBR of 2024 (Blogmas 2023 - Day 29)

 Hello everyone!!

Only three days are left until the end of the year and I thought that it would be nice to share with you my priority TBR for the next year.

In no particular order here are the books that I want to read in 2024.



Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

I think that it is time to finally read a Brandon Sanderson book. I cannot call myself a fantasy reader without having read a Brandon Sanderson book.








Malice by John Gwynne

I have read The Bloodsworn Saga (book1 & 2) from him and I loved them and i think I should read The Faithful and the Fallen series in 2024.








The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

The first book in his First Law series. I have heard great things and now that I have physical & beautiful  copies of the books I have no excuse.








The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

I want to continue reading The Wheel of Time series and I have only read the first two books. 








I also want in 2024 to finish some series that I am in the middle of or there is only one book left. Here are some of them..


                     

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina




Thursday 28 December 2023

Anticipated Releases for 2024 (Blogmas 2023 - Day 28)

 Hello everyone!!

Well, after a couple of days away I am back with some of my most anticipated releases of 2024.

Let's see them together...


In January I am looking forward to

The Atlas Complex by Olivie Blake

"Only the extraordinary are chosen. Only the cunning survive."

This is book 3 in The Atlas series and it will be released on January 9th.




Faebound by Saara El-Arifi

"Divided by blood.
Imprisoned by fate.
Bound by desire.
Welcome to the intoxicating world of the fae."

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Final Strife, comes an enchanting new trilogy. It will be published on January 18th.



Destroy the Day by Brigid Kemmerer

In the thrilling conclusion to the Defy the Night series, Brigid Kemmerer crafts heartrending twists and devastating turns that will keep readers breathless to the very end.
The book will be released on January 23rd






In February...

Bride by Ali Hazelwood

A dangerous alliance between a Vampyre bride and an Alpha Werewolf becomes a love deep enough to sink your teeth into in this new paranormal romance from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love, Theoretically and The Love Hypothesis.

Releases on February 6th




Gogmagog: The First Chronicle of Ludwich by Jeff Noon & 
Steve Beard

Gogmagog tells the story of an epic journey through the sixty-mile long ghost of a dragon. 

Releases on February 13th





Fathomfolk by Eliza Chan

From one of fantasy’s most exciting new voices Eliza Chan comes a modern, myth-inflected story of revolution and magic set against the glittering, semi-submerged city of Tiankawi, perfect for fans of Jade City and The Bone Shard Daughter . Welcome to Tiankawi – shining pearl of human civilization and a safe haven for those fleeing civil unrest. Or at least, that’s how it first appears.

Releases on  February 27th



Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff

The sequel to Empire of the Vampire releases on February 29th









The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson-Bennett

Featuring an unforgettable Holmes-and-Watson style pairing, a gloriously labyrinthine plot, and a haunting and wholly original fantasy world, The Tainted Cup brilliantly reinvents the classic mystery tale.

The 1st book in The Shadow of Leviathan releases on February 6th





Tales of the Celestial Kingdom by Sue Lynn Tan

Sue Lynn Tan’s highly acclaimed, bestselling Celestial Kingdom duology is expanded with this new compilation of stories from before, during, and after the events in Daughter of the Moon Goddess and Heart of the Sun Warrior, all from the perspectives of beloved characters and illustrated by Kelly Chong.

Releases on February 6th




In March...

Sunbringer by Hannah Kaner

Return to the world of Godkiller in this thrilling sequel to the #1 internationally bestselling fantasy debut, where Kissen and her companions must navigate lands of gods and demons to unravel a dark truth at the heart of their world.

Releases on March 12th





In April...

The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

From the New York Times bestselling author of Ninth House, Hell Bent, and creator of the Grishaverse series comes a highly anticipated historical fantasy set during the Spanish Golden Age

Releases on April 9th






In May...

The Silverblood Promise by James Logan

Set in a city of traders and thieves, monsters and murderers, this fast-paced epic fantasy debut is a must-read for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Nicholas Eames, and Scott Lynch.

Releases on May 7th





In September...

Somewhere Beyond the Sea by TJ Klune

Somewhere Beyond the Sea is the hugely anticipated sequel to TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, one of the best-loved and best-selling fantasy novels of the past decade

Releases on September 10th





See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina