Book Review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

Goodreads: The Empress of Salt and Fortune (The Singing Hills Cycle #1)
Publisher: Tordotcom
Published: 24 March 2020
Genre: Adult SFF

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy.

TL;DR: I started reading this thinking that it would go way over my head. I wasn’t connecting, I wasn’t understanding each time Rabbit would end a story and ask “Do you understand?” and I was kinda tempted to DNF. And then something clicked and as I continued reading and more things made sense, I listened to my urge to go back to the beginning to re-read what I didn’t understand at first… And then I got it and mind-blown. 🤯

Continue reading “Book Review: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo”

Book Review: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Goodreads: A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot #1)
Publisher: Tordotcom
Published: 13 July 2021
Genre: Adult SFF

Panda Rating:

(5 pandas)

Centuries before, robots of Panga gained self-awareness, laid down their tools, wandered, en masse into the wilderness, never to be seen again. They faded into myth and urban legend.

Now the life of the tea monk who tells this story is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They will need to ask it a 
lot. Chambers’ series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter? 

I asked Jess @ Jessticulates to buddy read this with me so I would actually pick this book up. I’m so glad that I finally read my first Becky Chambers book because the hype is real, friends!

TL;DR: It took no more than one chapter for me to realise just how much I would enjoy this book. The characters rapidly grew on me and the story was a soothing read that asked questions that really hit a mark with me. I followed along with parts of the book with the audio, which I would also recommend, and I have a feeling I’ll return to this book often when I’m craving a comforting read.

Continue reading “Book Review: A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers”

Book Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Goodreads: The Deep
Publisher: Saga Press
Published: 05 November 2019
Genre: Adult SFF

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.

TL;DR: This was a stunning little novella that packs a punch for how short it is. Through this fantastical world, Solomon does an incredible job exploring intergenerational trauma, the impact of shared memories and identity. While this might be a sombre read it’s written in a way that’s not oppressive or heavy and I could’ve read so much more of the lore, the setting and the characters. This was definitely a unique read that I think will churn through my mind for days to come and I can’t wait to read more of what Solomon has written! I would also highly recommend the audiobook because Daveed Diggs’ narration really helped to give this story life.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon”

ARC Review: Given to Darkness by Phil Williams

🥳 Happy Pub Day to Given to Darkness! 🎉

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Given to Darkness, book two in the Ikiri duology by Phil Williams. When I was approached by Phil to read the conclusion to this thrilling duology I immediately said yes because I remembered how much I enjoyed book one! Check out my review for Kept from Cages.

Special thanks to Phil Williams for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Given to Darkness (Ikiri Book 2)
Publisher: Rumian Publishing
Publication Date: 19 October 2021
Genre: Supernatural Action Thriller

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Ikiri demands blood. Whose will it be?

A malevolent force stirs from the heart of the Congo. One child can stop it – but everyone wants her dead. Reece Coburn’s gang have travelled half the world to protect Zipporah, only to find her in more danger than ever. Her violent father is missing, his murderous enemies are coming for them, and her brother’s power is growing stronger. Entire communities are being slaughtered, and it’s only getting worse.

They have to reach Ikiri before its corruption spreads. But there’s a long journey ahead, past ferocious killers and unnatural creatures – and very few people can be trusted along the way. Can two criminal musicians, an unstable assassin and a compromised spy reach Ikiri alive? What will it cost them along the way?

Pick up this exciting conclusion to the Ikiri duology today, for a supernatural thriller that will keep you hooked right to the finish

BUY A COPY:

Continue reading “ARC Review: Given to Darkness by Phil Williams”

Blog Tour Review: Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Hello, hello friends! I’m so excited to be back with another blog tour with @TheWriteReads gang! Today we’re taking a *smol* step outside my comfort zone for Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky but long story short, I loved it!. Be sure to check out all the other bloggers participating in this tour: here! 😍

Special thanks to Netgalley and Tor for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: Shards of Earth (The Final Architects Trilogy #1)
Publisher: Tor
Publish Date: 27 May 2021
Genre: Science Fiction

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade his mind in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy. Many escaped, but millions more died. So mankind created enhanced humans ­such as Idris – who could communicate mind-to-mind with our aggressors. Then these ‘Architects’ simply disappeared and Idris and his kind became obsolete.

Now, Idris and his crew have something strange, abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects – but are they really returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy as they search for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, and many would kill to obtain it.

BUY NOW:

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky”

Blog Tour Review: Bloodlines by Peter Hartog

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Bloodlines by Peter Hartog. Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Bloodlines (The Guardian of Empire City #1)
Publication Date: 28 August 2018
Genre: Dystopian Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi Techno Thriller
Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

When former hotshot homicide detective Tom “”Doc”” Holliday is recruited to join Special Crimes, he trades in his boring desk job for a second chance to do what he does best, hunt down killers. And his first case doesn’t disappoint: a murdered woman with a bogus past, her body drained of blood, and two eyewitnesses wasted on the designer drug goldjoy claiming a vampire did it.

For Holliday is no stranger to the unusual. He wields the Insight, a fickle clairvoyance that allows him to see the dark and terrible things that hide upon his world. After all, when you live in Empire City, where magic and technology co-exist, and humanity endures behind walls of stone and spell-forged steel, anything is possible.

Saddled with a team whose past is as checkered as his own, Holliday embarks upon an investigation that pits them against bio-engineered vampires, interdimensional parasites and the magical masterminds behind it all.

From nightclubs and skyscrapers, to underground drug labs and coffee shops, Holliday’s search for the truth will uncover a shadowy conspiracy that spans the ages, and forces him to confront a destiny he never wanted.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Bloodlines by Peter Hartog”

Blog Tour Review: Kept from Cages by Phil Williams

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Kept from Cages by Phil Williams. Thanks to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: Kept from Cages (Ikiri Book 1)
Publication Date: 21 September 2020
Genre: Supernatural Action Thriller

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

No one returns from Ikiri.
Reece’s gang of criminal jazz musicians have taken shelter in the wrong house. There’s a girl with red eyes bound to a chair. The locals call her a devil – but Reece sees a kid that needs protecting. He’s more right than he knows.
Chased by a shadowy swordsman and an unnatural beast, the gang flee across the Deep South with the kid in tow. She won’t say where she’s from or who exactly her scary father is, but she’s got powers they can’t understand. How much will Reece risk to save her?
On the other side of the world, Agent Sean Tasker’s asking similar questions. With an entire village massacred and no trace of the killers, he’s convinced Duvcorp’s esoteric experiments are responsible. His only ally is an unstable female assassin, and their only lead is Ikiri – a black-site in the Congo, which no one leaves alive. How far is Tasker prepared to go for answers?
Kept From Cages is the first part in an action-packed supernatural thriller duology, filled with eccentric characters and intricately woven mysteries. Start your journey to Ikiri today.

BUY NOW: Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

BOOK PROMO: The Kept From Cages ebook will be available for 99p/99c in UK/US Kindle from January 13th–19th.

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Kept from Cages by Phil Williams”

Book Spotlight: Hunter’s Secret by Val Penny

Hi everyone, I’m happy to be sharing a spotlight for Hunter’s Secret by Val Penny as part of the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. Thanks to Rachel for including me in the tour! Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on tour by clicking on the banner below:

Goodreads: Hunter’s Secret (The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries #5)
Publication Date: 08 August 2020
Publisher: Crooked Cat (Darkstroke)
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Crime-Procedural

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter. Will Hunter accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer?

Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. Will it change his life? And can he keep Edinburgh safe?

BUY IT NOW!

Continue reading “Book Spotlight: Hunter’s Secret by Val Penny”

Blog Tour: The Good for Nothings by Danielle Banas

Hello, friends! I’m so excited to participate in my first Xpresso Tours blog tour for The Good for Nothings by Danielle Banas. Special thanks to Xpresso Tours for including me on this tour, and thanks to Netgalley, Swoon Reads and the author providing the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The Good for Nothings
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: 04 August 2020
Genre: Young Adult SFF
Panda Rating:

They’re only good at being bad.
Cora Saros is just trying her best to join the family business of theft and intergalactic smuggling. Unfortunately, she’s a total disaster. After landing herself in prison following an attempted heist gone very wrong, she strikes a bargain with the prison warden: He’ll expunge her record if she brings back a long-lost treasure rumored to grant immortality.

Cora is skeptical, but with no other way out of prison (and back in her family’s good graces), she has no choice but to assemble a crew from her collection of misfit cellmates—a disgraced warrior from an alien planet; a cocky pirate who claims to have the largest ship in the galaxy; and a glitch-prone robot with a penchant for baking—and take off after the fabled prize. But the ragtag group soon discovers that not only is the too-good-to-be-true treasure very real, but they’re also not the only crew on the hunt for it. And it’s definitely a prize worth killing for.

Whip-smart and utterly charming, this irreverent sci-fi adventure is perfect for fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lunar Chronicles, and Firefly

Buy: Amazon (US) |Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Continue reading “Blog Tour: The Good for Nothings by Danielle Banas”

Book Spotlight: The End of Magic by Mark Stay

Hi everyone, today is my stop on the blog tour for The End of Magic by Mark Stay and I’ll be sharing a spotlight for this SFF standalone novel! Special thanks to Heather Fitt from Overview Media for asking me to be part of this blog tour and to the author for providing a copy. Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on tour!

Goodreads: The End of Magic
Publication Date: 07 February 2019
Publisher: Unbound Digital
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Two powerful mages. One steeped in privilege, the other bound by a moral code. Their world is thrown into chaos by the end of magic.

‘What will you do when the magic is gone?’
Sander Bree is a royal mage. He lives an easy life advising the king on matters of court and politics, yet he still complains that he’s stuck in a rut.
Rosheen Katell is a wandering mage and, with Anzu her griffin, she’s worked hard to build a reputation as a trustworthy truth seer. She never lies, never kills. 
Very soon, their magic will be gone. A cataclysmic event will change their lives and world forever. 
Sander must keep a promise that would have been difficult enough with magic, but is a suicide mission without it. 
Rosheen is forced to side with a murderous warlord, and her once-solid principles are tested and found wanting. Both will be set against one another in a war unlike anything the world has seen before, in this sweeping fantasy of magic’s ending.

A stand alone fantasy novel for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Scott Lynch.

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Continue reading “Book Spotlight: The End of Magic by Mark Stay”