Book Review: Malice by John Gwynne

Goodreads: Malice (The Faithful and The Fallen #1)
Publisher: Pan
Published: 01 December 2012
Genre: Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

A black sun is rising… Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors under King Brenin’s rule, learning the art of war. He yearns to wield his sword and spear to protect his king’s realm. But that day will come all too soon. Only when he loses those he loves will he learn the true price of courage. The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed shields in battle, the earth running dark with their heartsblood. Although the giant-clans were broken in ages past, their ruined fortresses still scar the land. But now giants stir anew, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of giant wyrms. Those who can still read the signs see a threat far greater than the ancient wars. Sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield. Then there will be a war to end all wars. High King Aquilus summons his fellow kings to council, seeking an alliance in this time of need. Some are skeptical, fighting their own border skirmishes against pirates and giants. But prophesy indicates darkness and light will demand two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. They would be wise to seek out both, for if the Black Sun gains ascendancy, mankind’s hopes and dreams will fall to dust.

I read this chonkster with Leslie and I’m so glad that I did cos otherwise it might’ve taken me years to pick it up and I would’ve missed out on an epic fantasy read! I was constantly spamming her with frantic messages as I tried to figure out wtf was happening while simultaneously freaking out over what I was reading, especially at the end!

TL;DR: OMFGJFC. This was a debut? I’m shook cos just like it says on the cover: it’s a helluva debut! This was my first John Gwynne book and other than knowing how well-loved his books are, I didn’t know what to expect. It’s a bit of a slow-burn as the world’s vast history and the characters are developed but it’s 100% worth the journey. I thoroughly enjoyed Malice and it’s safe to say that I thought this was a fantastic debut and an exciting first book in an exciting series! Also, sorry (not sorry?) but I wrote an essay to convey my thoughts (lol).


CW/TW: graphic descriptions of violent human and animal deaths, gore, blood, war violence, parental death, bullying, physical abuse (off-page)


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ARC Review: The Hand of the Sun King by J.T. Greathouse

Special thanks to JABerwocky Literary Agency, Inc. for providing an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Goodreads: The Hand of the Sun King (Pact and Pattern #1)
Publisher: JABerwocky Literary Agency, Inc.
Published: 05 August 2021
Genre: Adult Fantasy

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.

All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother’s family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.

I can choose between them – between protecting my family, or protecting my people – or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by Empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.

But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves . . .

TL;DR: My review turned into an essay because I had so much to say about this book and still, it does not do it justice. Safe to say that I enjoyed the heck out of this fantasy and I’m still surprised that it’s J.T. Greathouse’s debut novel?! Please, give me more! This is such a stunning fantasy and deserves so much more attention. If you’re a fan of wonderful prose, intricate world-building, fascinating magic, and messy characters that you can’t help but root for, I would highly recommend you check this one out!

Continue reading “ARC Review: The Hand of the Sun King by J.T. Greathouse”

Book Spotlight + Excerpt: Paladin Unbound by Jeffrey Speight

🎂 HAPPY PUB DAY TO PALADIN UNBOUND! 🥳

Hi, friends! I’m delighted to share a book spotlight + excerpt today as part of the tour hosted by Storytellers on Tour for Paladin Unbound by Jeffrey Speight!

Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour by clicking the banner below.

Goodreads: Paladin Unbound
Publisher: Literary Wanderlust
Publish Date: 01 July 2021
Genre: Epic Fantasy

The last of a dying breed, a holy warrior must rise up against a growing darkness in Evelium.

The most unlikely of heroes, a lowly itinerant mercenary, Umhra the Peacebreaker is shunned by society for his mongrel half-Orc blood. Desperate to find work for himself and his band of fighters, Umhra agrees to help solve a rash of mysterious disappearances, but uncovers a larger, more insidious plot to overthrow the natural order of Evelium in the process.

As Umhra journeys into the depths of Telsidor’s Keep to search for the missing, he confronts an ancient evil and, after suffering a great loss, turns to the god he disavowed for help.

Compelled to save the kingdom he loves, can he defeat the enemy while protecting his true identity, or must he risk everything?

CW/TW: Gore, Violence, Racism, Body Horror, Torture, Human Trafficking

BUY NOW:

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Goodreads Monday – The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

Welcome back to Goodreads Monday! It’s been a very hot minute since I did one but I figured I might as well get back into it! This weekly meme was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners and it invites you to pick a book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it. Easy enough, right? Feel free to join in if you want to! I’ll be using a random number generator to pick my books from my insanely long GR Want-to-read list.*

*Sorry if a book has been featured twice. I need to make better note of which ones I’ve done already!

This week’s featured book is The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso. This is an Asian epic/high fantasy that was released last year and is Villoso’s debut novel. 😍

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Blog Tour Review: Steel & Stone by Kate Haley

I’m back with another blog tour with The Storytellers on Tour for Stone & Steel (The War of the North Saga #1) by Kate Haley. 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: Stone & Steel (The War of the North #1) Publication Date: 06 May 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Epic Fantasy
Panda Rating:

Ten years. Thousands dead. No memories.

The amnesia was supposed to be a good thing. Other soldiers bask in its freedom. Except for Elvac it doesn’t feel right. When he returns from his first year at war he can’t shake the niggling sensation that something is missing. His life has been turned upside down, yet he can’t remember being gone. The only proof of his time away are the scars, and the haunting dreams of fire.


With the help of his friends, Elvac begins to regain his lost memories, and with them uncover the truth of his missing year, and what the Church of Sunne is really doing with their War of the North…

BUY NOW: Amazon (US)

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Book Ending Spring: The Cinderella Effect

Hello, hello, friends! Welcome back to another post for #BESpring2020! As per usual I am a day behind but since today’s post is about bujo’s and I don’t have/use one, I thought I’d answer yesterday’s prompt made by Sam @ Fictionally Sam!

A quick recap for those who don’t know, Book Ending Spring (2020) is hosted by Sam and Clo @ Cuppa Clo, and it’s one of the quarterly events running under the umbrella term “Bookend Events” that aspires to bring the book blogging community closer together! You can find more information on the announcement page and you can sign up to join as well, if you want in on the blogging fun!

Rules

  • Answer the prompts
  • Tag some friends
  • Link back to the original post and be sure to mention the creator (Sam @ Fictionally Sam)
  • Have fun!

Now without further ado let’s get to the prompt: The Cinderella Effect! For this prompt we’re naming five books that you couldn’t wait to get your hands on but turned into a pumpkin (a dud) when you got it. So for this prompt I’m looking at the books that I was so excited for but didn’t end up loving as much as I hoped. Maybe that’s not really focusing on books that were total ‘duds’ because I still rated them okay, but they were just disappointing!

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First Lines Friday – 28 February

Happy Friday book lovers! We’re back with another First Lines Friday, a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are the rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First lines:

“Raithe’s first impulse was to pray. Curse, cry, scream, pray–people did such things in their last minutes of life. But praying struck Raithe as absurd given that his problem was the angry god twenty feet away.”

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

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Kingshold (Wildfire Cycle #1) by D.P. Woolliscroft Blog Tour – #BookReview

I’m back with another blog tour with the @WriteReads gang and this time it’s for the epic fantasy: Kingshold. I’m so glad that this book was brought to my attention thanks to Dave and that I was lucky enough to receive a copy from the author. This is one fantasy adventure that’s not to be missed!

Goodreads: Kingshold (Wildfire Cycle #1)
Published: 30 April 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Panda Rating:

The King is Dead. Long Live the People!
Mareth is a bard, a serial under achiever, a professional drunk, and general disappointment to his father. Despite this, Mareth has one thing going for him. He can smell opportunity. The King is dead and an election for the new Lord Protector has been called. If he plays his cards right, if he can sing a story that will put the right person in that chair, his future fame and drinking money is all but assured. But, alas, it turns out Mareth has a conscience after all.

Neenahwi is the daughter of Jyuth, the ancient wizard who founded the Kingdom of Edland and she is not happy. It’s not just that her father was the one who killed the King, or that he didn’t tell her about his plans. She’s not happy because her father is leaving, slinking off into retirement and now she has to clean up his mess.

Alana is a servant at the palace and the unfortunate soul to draw the short straw to attend to Jyuth. Alana knows that intelligence and curiosity aren’t valued in someone of her station, but sometimes she can’t help herself. And so she finds herself drawn into the Wizard’s schemes, and worst of all, coming up with her own plans.

Chance brings this unlikely band together to battle through civil unrest, assassinations, political machinations, pirates and monsters, all for a common cause that they know, deep down, has no chance of succeeding – bringing hope to the people of Kingshold.

Continue reading “Kingshold (Wildfire Cycle #1) by D.P. Woolliscroft Blog Tour – #BookReview”

#WWWWednesday: 25 September

YO, can you believe it’s already the last Wednesday of September 2019!? What is this sorcery with the time? I feel like if I close my eyes for too long I’ll open them to find it’s already NYE and the ball’s about to drop! 🙈So it’s time for another WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What did you read last?

Since last Wednesday I managed to finish three other books alongside the one I’m still reading. I already posted my review for Fake Date (read it here!) but tl;dr, I was pretty disappointed and really wanted more from it! I still need to write reviews for The Hating Game (reread) and The Stopover (eARC). Oh hello, what are these things called eARCs you say?! Yah, it’s been a hot minute since I picked one up but I really needed to take a break from Priory and I decided to finally read this one contemporary romance. My review is going up soon but let me tell you, I am hella conflicted about how I feel because I know the relationship was toxic AF and the dynamic between screwing like wild bunnies to fighting over nothing got old pretty quick. BUT AT THE SAME TIME I also couldn’t put it down? Um, Like… What? Why? I don’t know. Is this how people felt when they finished reading the After series? Because if so, I think I get it now LMAO 😂

What are you currently reading?

GOOD NEWS FRIENDS! After whining about my struggle to get into The Priory of the Orange Tree, I’m now 80% of the way through and I’m really enjoying it! It does have me feeling a bit conflicted though. I’m attached to characters, but not necessarily all of the main ones (something bad just happened to one of the main characters and I felt… Nothing?). At the same time, even though I feel like I’ve sped through the last 40%, I also feel like it’s a little endless (I constantly wonder when, if ever, I’ll finish the book). But it’s really not because I’m not enjoying it, it’s just that it’s a tome 🙈 Shit hit the fan quickly and continuously in this story–literally just one thing after another going horribly wrong and it had my heart racing and me screaming out loud. I know that I don’t want to put this down until it’s over (but alas, life), especially now that I’ve made it to the final section of the book. I really can’t wait to see how it all wraps up!

What will you read next?

I’m still going to be keeping these three on here. Might pick up The Bookish Life of Nina Hill first though! I also missed the group discussion for Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) 😅SURPRISE! But I think I’ll still give it a re-read. I’m not sure how I’m feeling about The Light Keeper anymore, as I tried the first three chapters and it just… Wow, confused and annoyed me, and that has me feeling a little yikes about it… Let’s see how it goes!

What are you currently reading? Leave me a comment and let’s chat 🙂

#WWWWednesday: 18 September

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What did you read last?

So… After writing my WWW Wednesday post last week, I managed to last ONE DAY before caving and picking up Godsgrave. That means I abandoned On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, and I do feel guilty about that, but I just couldn’t resist! I NEEDED to know what happened and I’m really glad I picked it up. Kristoff managed to really screw with my feelings yet again, and now I’m holding off on picking up Darkdawn because I know I’m going to be a wreck while/after reading it. I don’t think I’m ready for it 😂 After finishing Godsgrave in the wee hours of Saturday morning, I decided I needed to take a break before moving on to the group read that I’ve been so skilled at avoiding, and I ended up finishing three books: a short graphic novel: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do… But You Could’ve Done Better (check out my review); and two contemporary romances: The Wrong Kind of Love and The Ingredients of Us (check out my review)! The Wrong Kind of Love was my first Lexi Ryan and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would! The Ingredients of Us was a mixed read for me… There was a lot of angst and that played against my anxiety, so I didn’t enjoy that, but it was still good for a debut. Plus I always enjoy books with baking/cooking 😍

What are you currently reading?

I’ve FINALLY picked up The Priory of the Orange Tree. We all know by now that this book is a definite chunkster and I gave up on reading the physical copy the other day because my arms just couldn’t deal with how much of a work out I was giving them 😂 So I caved and bought the e-book and my arms thank me muchly. I’ve also been so intimidated by how big this book is, so I hope that reading it on my Kindle will make it easier to digest! I’m kind of really feeling in the mood for a contemporary romance/romcom as well, so I think I might read Fake Date (Dating #2) by Monica Murphy at some point while reading Priory. I didn’t realize it was part of a series, but I loved the sound of it when I came across it this morning (on Alyssa @ A Lovely Book Affair‘s page), so yeah, IMPULSE BUY!

What will you read next?

After finishing Priory I expect that I’ll be feeling the need for some lighter reads, so I was thinking about picking up The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, which has been very hyped on bookstagram, and I just remembered I also signed myself up for a group read for Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) 😅Woopsies! This’ll actually be a re-read for me. I didn’t like it the first time and didn’t see what everyone loved about it, but I’m wondering if I’ll feel differently this time around? Let’s see! I also need to read the ARC for The Light Keeper, which … is already out (I’m so sorry) and I just haven’t got around to it yet. Grr 😤This panda really needs to work on getting her ARC shit together!

What are you currently reading? Leave me a comment and let’s chat 🙂