Top 5 series I will start in 2023 #Top5Tuesday

Happy Tuesday and welcome to this week’s Top 5 Tuesday post. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted by the lovely Meeghan at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for Oct to Dec see Meeghan’s post here.

This week we are thinking about those book series that we are looking forward to starting in 2023.

This is actually quite a hard prompt as I don’t often plan to begin a series. Mostly I begin series because I spot a book in a bookshop or library. More often now, it’s because I’ve seen a series recommended by another blogger but it does tend to be more spontaneous than planned. However, I have got 5 series that I am planning on beginning in 2023. One of them is a bit of a cheat though as I’ve already started it, but it was only last week so it still counts as new for 2023 😃

This has been on my TBR since it first came out and I bought it on my kindle in the Black Friday sale so I have no excuse for not reading this one soon and then moving onto The Oleander Sword.

This is another first book in a series that I’m looking forward to beginning soon. I loved all of the Powder Mage books and I’m just waiting for this one to be released in paperback.

I have heard loads about Elizabeth Jane Howard’s family epic and I saw that they actually have them all in the library so I’m definitely intending to begin this series soon.

OneBookMore posted a top ten post today about new fantasy authors and one of the ones mentioned was Laura Sebastian. I investigated and The Ash Princess Trilogy sounded like a fun read. Also as it’s currently on Kindle Unlimited, it was a good one to try.

The Darkwater trilogy is perhaps a tiny bit of a cheat as I’ve already read the first two books this month. It’s a brilliant epic fantasy series and as I’ve begun it in 2023, I’m including it in this post 😃

So that’s my Top 5 series that I’m planning on beginning in 2023. Apart from one, they are all fantasy series but other genres don’t seem to lend themselves to completed series in quite the same way.

I’m looking forward to next week’s post which will be a bit easier as I definitely have series that I am hoping to finish this year.

What series are you looking forward to beginning this year or do you prefer stand alone novels?

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Top Five Tuesday – My Top Five unfinished Fantasy Series

Welcome to this week’s Top 5 Tuesday post. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for Oct to Dec see Meeghan’s post here.

This week we have a freebie. Yay!!! It’s perfect timing as I’ve had this post in my head for a while but not got around to doing it. This post is about the series that I am impatiently waiting for the authors to finish. And no, I’m not talking about Game of Thrones or Name of the Wind. I’ve given up on George Martin or Patrick Rothfuss ever completing their series. These are current series where the end result is in sight (mainly) and I can’t wait to complete them.

Rooks and Ruin Trilogy by Melissa Caruso

The third book, The Ivory Tomb is out in December 2022 so not long to wait until I can complete this one on my shelves.

The Rook and The Rose by M A Carrick

The third book Labyrinth’s Heart is due to be published in August 2023. I really can’t wait for this one to come out as it is my favourite new series this year.

The Drowning Empire by Andrea Stewart

I absolutely loved the first two books in this series too. The third volume, The Bone Shard War is due to be published in April 2023

The Last King of Osten Ard by T A D Williams

This is the series that I have been waiting on for the longest as I read The Witchwood Crown way back in 2017. However, Navigator’s Children is scheduled for release in November 2023 so not too long to wait now.

Eve of Man by Giovanni and Tom Fletcher

This is the series that seems as though it’s most likely to become another Name of the Wind. I bought the first two books during lockdown in 2020 thinking that the third one was due out soon. However, I was wrong and I still can’t even find a title for the final or next book let alone a release date.

However, four out of my five unfinished series that I’m waiting on are due to be completed in the next 12 months so that’s not too bad.

What books in a series are you eagerly waiting for?

Blogtober -Sundays in bed with ……… The Ones We Burn

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is The Ones We Burn by Rebecca Mix

This is a Net Galley ARC which I’m fairly sure that I requested mainly on the basis of the cover which really grabbed my attention.

Blurb from Net Galley:
Ranka is tired of death. All she wants now is to be left alone, living out her days in Witchik’s wild north with the coven that raised her, attempting to forget the horrors of her past. But when she is named Bloodwinn, the next treaty bride to the human kingdom of Isodal, her coven sends her south with a single directive: kill him. Easy enough, for a blood-witch whose magic compels her to kill.

Except the prince is gentle, kind, and terrified of her. He doesn’t want to marry Ranka; he doesn’t want to be king at all. And it’s his sister – the wickedly smart, infuriatingly beautiful Princess Aramis – who seems to be the real threat.

But when witches start turning up dead, murdered by a mysterious, magical plague, Aramis makes Ranka an offer: help her develop a cure, and in return, she’ll teach Ranka to contain her deadly magic. But as the coup draws nearer and the plague spreads, Ranka is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her power, her past, and who she’s meant to fight for. Soon, she will have choose between the coven that raised her – and the princess who sees beyond the monster they shaped her to be. But as the bodies pile up, a monster may be exactly what they need.

I’m loving this so far although there do seem to be a few parallels with The Darkening by Sunya Mara especially with regard to the developing romance. But then again, there are only so many different ways you can spin relationships.

What are you reading this Sunday?

This is the twentysecond post for Blogtober 2o22. I’m well over half way through the challenge of posting every day throughout this month 😃

Blogtober 16 – Sundays in bed with ……. Fairy Tale

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week the book by my bed (or on the arm of my sofa) is Fairy Tale by Stephen King

I can’t remember the last time that I was reading the same book at the weekend as I was during the previous week. It’s taking me a long while to finish this one partly because the book is fairly long at 577 pages but also because we’ve been really busy this week.

Blurb from the book:
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and his ageing master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.

King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale about another world than ours, in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.

I am now about three quarters of the book and everything is looking fairly grim for Charlie. However, as the story is told in the first person, I’m fairly sure that he gets out alive as otherwise, who would be telling the story?

I haven’t read any Stephen King for years and I had forgotten what a good writer he is. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far. I really like the character of Charlie and the parallels and links that are drawn with different fairy tales.

What are you reading this Sunday?

This is the sixteenth post for Blogtober 2o22. I’m half way through the challenge of posting every day throughout this month 😃

Blog Tour and Review – Sorcerer’s Edge

I am really excited to have been asked to take part in the blog tour to celebrate the publication of Sorcerer’s Edge, the final volume in The Tethered Citadel trilogy by David Hair.

I have read and loved David Hair’s previous series, The Sunsurge and The Moontide quartets and have enjoyed this latest brand new series just as much. The Tethered Citadel trilogy is basically the story of a group of people who try to escape the control of an invading empire by travelling off the map to a previously undiscovered world. When they arrive, they find that the new lands are anything but undiscovered. This final volume is where the story concludes.

Sorcerer’s Edge is the epic finale to The Tethered Citadel trilogy and is a brilliant read from start to finish. The book contains everything you would want from an epic fantasy novel; battles, magic, characters who will stop at nothing to get what they want and a sprinkling of romance along the way.  Helpfully, the author has provided a synopsis of what has gone before to help those who might not have read the previous books (or maybe just forgotten).

 The book opens with a scene that reintroduces the character of Toran Zorne who disappeared in the previous book. Here we find him safely back in Otravia where he is involved in the plans to follow and hunt down Raythe Vyre and bring back the magical element of Istariol to the empire. This sets up the main theme of this book which is the confrontation between the Imperial Forces and both sets of people living in the land that used to belong to the Aldar.

David Hair’s world building is as detailed as ever and the characters are vividly drawn. I really enjoyed the increased emphasis on the imperial forces in this book especially Raythe’s ex-wife Mirella who definitely has her own agenda. I also really liked the sorceress Teirhinan Deathless who had powers that no-one else could match. And there’s a dragon!!!!!

 The pace never slows as at first Raythe’s people are working on living with the Tangato and then the two people have to unite to fight the invaders. There are battles and magic galore and the ending resolves everything beautifully with one or two surprises along the way.

This was a fitting finale to another great fantasy series by David Hair. Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers, Quercus Books for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review. If you enjoy epic fantasy series, then David Hair is certainly an author to check out.

Sorcerer’s Edge is published today, 13th October 2022

Sabriel Read-a-long Week 2

I’m running a bit behind with my posts for the Old Kingdom Read-a-long but these are my thoughts on the second week’s chapters 10 -20.

  1. Would you fly in a paperwing given a chance?
    I would love to say yes as the idea of flying in what is basically a paper plane sounds really exciting. However Sabriel thinks that it looks “pretty, decorative and not at all airworthy” so I suspect that if I did actually have the chance to fly one, the appearance would put me off completely. I do love the way that Garth Nix describes the paperwing. I get a really clear picture in my head as with so much else in this novel.

2. What are your thoughts on talking animal companions as a whole?
I love them. Who wouldn’t love a friendly animal to keep you company. In books they are often quite stroppy and provide a lot of the humour so they are generally fun to read about. A couple of my favourites ate the horse in The Horse and his Boy by C S Lewis and Mephi from The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart.

3. Pick a character and discuss what you suspect about their journey going forward.
I’m really keen to find out what happens to Moggett. The events of chapter 12 were far beyond what I expected to happen and I’m really interested to see if he stays in his current form at the end of the book.

4. Who or what do you think Touchstone is?
The book tells us that he is a trapped spirit who is contained in the figurehead of the ship. Sabriel uses her necromancy skills to free him. We learn more about him in Chapter 18 and find out what his role was in the fall of the monarchy but he just seems to be someone who was alive at the time of the last monarch of the Old Kingdom. Maybe he was a royal guard as he was close to the royal family and was also a charter mage. It sounds a bit like the Abhorsen saved his life by trapping his spirit in the figurehead. Maybe he was saved for a particular reason that will be revealed.

I have to say that I am loving the book so far. I can’t believe that I have never read the series before.

Roll on Week 3!

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches – a review.

What a gorgeous witchy read. I had no idea what to expect from this book but I absolutely loved it.

Mica Moon is a 31 year old witch who has been brought up believing that witches must always work alone and can never trust anyone with the secrets of their witchcraft. However, when she is approached to help three young witches control their powers, she sees the chance for a new start.

The three girls live in a mysterious house in Norfolk in the care of their guardian, an archaeologist who is off somewhere excavating. In her absence, Ian, Ken and Lucie look after the girls and the house. And then there’s the librarian, Jamie who is very prickly and is determined to keep the girls safe at all costs.

Mica settles into her new role and begins to feel at home which she has never done in any place before. However, then she discovers that Jamie and the others are keeping secrets from her because they do not trust her and everything she has come to believe is shattered.

This book is a gorgeous combination of fantasy and romance. The fantasy elements are set firmly within the real world and are presented as normal. I love the way that Mica can fit a completely random collection of things including a fish pond into her small car. At its heart though, this is a novel about found family and seeing how Mica finds a place for herself is heart-warming. There are very similar vibes to The House on the Cerulean Sea so if you loved that, there is a good chance you will enjoy this one.

I loved all of the characters in this book. The three girls especially are brilliant. Each of them has their own character but my favourite is Terracotta who is a typical middle child, very spiky and reluctant to trust anyone especially an unknown witch. The standout character though is Mica herself. Despite lacking love and affection in her life, she cares about everyone around her and always thinks the best about any situation. A character who is a constant ray of sunshine can be irritating but Mica has a very vulnerable side and when she was hurt, I got a real lump in my throat.

This is a gorgeous book about found family, trust and new starts. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys a witchy story with a healthy dose of romance.

Thank you so much to Net Galley and the publishers for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is published by Hodder and Stoughton on 23rd August.

Top 5 Tuesday – Books with Swords

Welcome to this week’s Top 5 Tuesday post. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for July to September see Meeghans page here.

For August, we’re back doing scavenger hunts for books with particular themes. I love this as it often reminds me of books that I had completely forgotten about. This week should be a fairly easy one to find as we’re looking for books with swords and I can immediately think of several! This theme really is a gift to any lover of epic fantasy or historical fiction.

I’m trying not to duplicate series that I used last week for the crowns theme so George Martin’s A Storm of Swords won’t appear 😢

I could probably have done this whole post with retellings of the Arthur legend. After all, Excalibur is probably one of the most famous swords ever. However, I just picked this brilliant retelling by Mary Stewart. Definitely one of my favourite trilogies ever.

Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive is only halfway through but this first volume is brilliant.

This is another series that is only half way through publication although apparently all the volumes have been written. I’m not enjoying it quite as much as the Riyria Chronicles as the characters aren’t quite as vivid but it’s still a good read.

Dawnthief is the first book in The Chronicles of the Raven and this is another superb series about a group of very disparate people on a quest. Definitely a great example of the found family theme as they grow together over the series.

I couldn’t have a collection of books about swords without including one by the sadly missed David Gemmell. I loved all of his heroic fantasy books.

That’s my choice of books with swords. What would yours be?

Top 5 Tuesday – Top 5 Books of 2022 (so far)

Welcome to this week’s Top 5 Tuesday post. Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and it is now being hosted at Meeghan reads!! For details of all of the prompts for April to June see Meeghans page here.

AAAAAAAAAGH!!!! How can I be expected to choose my top 5 books? I’ve read some amazing books this year and picking 5 is just going to be hard.

To narrow it down, I’m going for my top 5 fantasy books that I’ve read this year so far.

Each one of these was a 5 star read for me and they were all by authors that I hadn’t read before this year.

Have you read any of these? What would be in your top 5 so far this year?

Half a Soul – a review

Genre – Romance, Regency romance, Fantasy
Net Galley ARC
Publication Date – June 30th
Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is a  gorgeous Regency romance with a healthy dose of magic and a sprinkling of satire.

I wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy Half a Soul or not. I love historical fiction and all things Regency but I’m not a convert to stories about the fae and so I didn’t know how I would feel about a book that combined the two. I didn’t need to worry though, Olivia Atwood put the two worlds together and it worked brilliantly.

We first meet Dora as a nine year old when she encounters the fae lord in the local wood. He steals half her soul and she grows up never quite feeling any of the emotions that she is supposed to. The story really begins when Dora accompanies her cousin Violet to London for the season. In London she meets the sorcerer, Lord Sorcier who Violet hopes can free Dora from the fae curse.

I really loved the character of Dora. Her matter of fact manner and bluntness made her an interesting heroine. I enjoyed the way the author really tried to convey how her emotions were blocked by the lack of her soul. She was perfectly matched by the very bad-tempered Lord Sorcier who hated society and the need to be polite. As the story progresses, we find out more about Elias and begin to understand his manner. The book is full of brilliant characters from the master of the workhouse to the Fae lords but one of my favourite characters was Albert, the third son of an earl who Dora’s aunt tries to pair her off with. Their friendship was one of the many strong points of the novel.

The novel did a brilliant job of looking at the unfairness of society too. This is often an issue not covered by Regency romances but Olivia Atwood really showed us the dreadful conditions in the workhouses and how this compared with the opulence of the lives lived by the aristocracy. It was good to see a portrayal of those people who worked to improve the lives of the poor and I loved Albert’s mother who did what she could to help. I was a bit puzzled by Dora’s anger towards Violet when Violet didn’t feel the outrage that Dora expected. It felt a bit illogical because Dora hadn’t understood until she actually saw the workhouse but also her anger seemed a bit out of place with her character and general lack of emotion.

There was so much that I enjoyed about this novel that it is difficult to put it all in one review. One element that I did enjoy was the satirical view of London society. The Fae ball was a great example of this when the author poked fun at the conventions of polite balls through the eyes of the fae.

There were a couple of occasions when the author’s choice of language jarred and didn’t feel appropriate to the period. However, the thing that really spoilt the novel for me was the epilogue. Without giving anything away, it seemed unnecessary and I felt that it actually reduced what had gone before.

Apart from that awkward epilogue, this was a brilliant read for any lover of Regency Romance with a bit of added magic.

Half a Soul is published by Little Brown Book Group on June 30th.