5 reasons to read the Shardlake series

Hi guys, it’s time for another review – you guys know the routine by now :). So I thought I would do another review in the form of 5 reason to read type review. I find sometimes these types of review is a great way to organise my thoughts. Today I am going to be talking about the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom. Granted I have only read the first two books (it’s a six book series), but I have enjoyed those books so much that I thought I’d do this anyway. Let’s get started.

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  1. There are so easy to get into. I was hooked from very early on with both of these books and I fully expect to the same with the next books.
  2. The characters are fantastic, especially Shardlake. He is such a brilliant main character and the others are just as good. Sansom does a great job at creating complex characters – I’ve really enjoyed his portrayal of Cromwell. Yes he is cunning and ruthless but he also has good qualities and it really shows that he is a product of his time. Basically he writes characters wonderfully.
  3. The plot and the mystery incorporated into it are (again) fantastic. The building of tension throughout the two that I have read really lends itself to the mystery/crime genre of this book. The plot will keep you on your toes and you’ll be constantly wondering who’s the culprit.
  4. If you are a big reader of historical fiction, then you need to check this series out. The two I have read are fantastic and crime elements are done so well.
  5. In my opinion the second book was even better than the first, and that bodes very well for the rest of the series. I am so excited to continue on with these books.

 

If you haven’t already guessed I am a big fan of this series, or at least the two books I’ve read of it so far. I will definitely be picking up the third book very soon as I want to see how things progress now that a certain character is gone (no spoilers). Have you guys read this series? Before I go I wanted to ask you guys if you have any review requests – do you guys mind that I review primarily fantasy? Or do you want more variety? I would love any feedback you guys have. Thanks in advance 🙂 I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

5 Sequels I’m Waiting For.

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share 5 sequels I’m impatiently waiting for. These are books that have no release date, although there is one that the release date keeps being pushed back. I am very excited for whenever these books are released, hopefully sooner rather than later :). Most of these are fantasy sequels – what a surprise :).  Let’s get started.
  1. The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel – third and final book in the Cromwell trilogy.
  2. Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss – third and final book in the Kingkiller Chronicles
  3. Nightblood by Brandon Sanderson – sequel to Warbreaker 
  4. The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch – fourth book in the Gentleman Bastards Sequence
  5. A untitled fifth book of the Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini

 

Hopefully we won’t have to wait to much longer for these books to be released, but I’m sure the wait means the books will be the best they possibly can be. What book are you impatiently waiting for? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

My Bullet Journal: Six Months On

Hi guys, how are you all? I hope you’ve had a nice beginning of July. I have to admit that I’m kind of impatiently waiting for the start of autumn now 🙂 – I’m not a summer person really. Anyway, today I thought I would revisit my bullet journal with you guys. At the beginning of the year I showed you my bullet journal and I thought now that I’ve been using it for around six months I would share how I’ve got on with it. Also I apologise in advance for the lighting in some of these photos but it was natural lighting so there isn’t alot I can do about it. Let’s get started.
The first two pages are pretty self explanatory – there my 2017 resolutions and a year at a glance page which contains birthdays and holiday dates. The next pages (pictured below) are all blog related. The first is a stats tracker for my blog, Instagram and twitter accounts. I know it’s not all about numbers but it’s nice to see some growth. Next I have a blog post ideas page. I like to be able to come up with new content so this is the place I come up with ideas – although I’m a little bit stuck with ideas at the moment. I then have a blog and YouTube post tracker, as you can see I’ve been pretty inconsistent with my YouTube posts – I’m still trying to get the hang of it. I also have a page set up to track my goodreads challenge and a place to note down my favourite books.
My next pages are all monthly spreads to keep track of all things blog related. I like having it all in one place for me to see. After that I have a place to note down my monthly posts, tbrs and videos as well as a possible daily plan for my Instagram account, although I don’t always stick to it :). Blue ink indicates blog posts, green indicates a YouTube post and black indicates a personal thing. Also a orange dot shows it’s written and scheduled, and once it’s posted I’ll tick it with a red pen.
After all of my monthly spreads I have a page to keep track of my TBR books, although I haven’t been great at keeping this up to date. Then I have a couple of pages dedicated to my anticipated releases of 2017 whether it’s books, films or games. There’s a lot of great stuff coming out this year and I like to keep track of it all.
Next up I have a page to note down any new favourites, whether it’s food, skincare, games etc, for possible posts in the future. Then I have a spread for my mental health tracker. I split these pages into four for each month, so I can note down how the overall month has been for my mental health and how I’ve been feeling. After that I have a fitness tracker. I’ve been trying to be more active this year so this is a great way of keeping track of that – as you can see it is colour coded depending on activity.  I also have a spread to keep track of all the films that I have seen this year.
The next page is a bucket list type page – things I want to learn, places I want to visit, things to see etc. As you can see I then have a page to note down any big moments of 2017 and opposite that a page that reminds me of a few things when you are feeling a bit down. Next I have a place to note down the dates of posting certain posts – just so I know what I’m posting and when. Opposite that I have an Instagram tracker, which is pretty self explanatory. I keep track of when I am posting on Instagram. Then I have a brain dump spread, which is again self explanatory. The next page allows me to plan for future recommendation posts and on the opposite page I’ve noted down all of the authors I’ve talked about so far on my blog in author explorations. The penultimate spread has a page dedicated to my progress on my unfinished series and a place to note down my favourite and disappointing books of 2017. Finally I have a rough packing list for Crete and on the opposite page a couple of quotes – one from J. R. R. Tolkien and the other from Aubrey Hepburn.

 

That is all I have to share with you guys today. I hope some of found this a little interesting. I have to say I have really enjoyed using my bullet journal and will definitely be continuing on with it. Do you guys use a bullet journal? What do you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

June Wrap Up and July TBR

Hi guys, it’s the end of another month which means it’s time for another monthly wrap up. I had a pretty good reading month. I managed to read 9 books – 4 of which are 4 star ratings. Although I did have a few mixed feelings about some books too. Unsurprisingly I read mostly fantasy, but I kind of wanting to read more books from other genres. Anyway let’s get started.

 

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Borne / Jeff Vandermeer / ★★.5
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with this one. I really enjoyed the Southern Reach trilogy by the same author so I was immediately interested in the new book. While the concept is an interesting one and Vandermeer is a talented writer, I just didn’t love this book. I think the main issue I had with this was the pacing. It has quite a slow start and quite a fast ending. It also lacks a substantial plot – alot of the is just a meandering wander into the life of the main character. The world is an interesting one, although it is also pretty weird. To be honest I didn’t really care about any of the characters. This one just didn’t work for me, but still worth checking out if you’re interested in it.

 

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Godblind / Anna Stephens / ★★★
*I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
This one was quite mixed for me. To be completely honest it was probably more of a 2.5 star rating. I wanted to like it more than I actually ended up liking it. The two main issue I had was the lack of character depth and the number of perspectives. Firstly, for me the characters fell a little flat – they didn’t seem well rounded and so I wanted more development from them. Perhaps because there are so many characters, the author sacrificed some character depth/development. The second issue is that in my opinion there are too many character perspectives, which makes it hard to keep track of them all. Off the top of my head there are 10 character perspectives and in my opinion that is too many.  This probably contributed to the fact it took me a while to get into this book. I will say I think the book does pick up after the first quarter of the book. The romance elements were entirely predictable (especially in one place) and kind of unnecessary. I felt like it was just there as a bit of a relief from some of the brutality and I didn’t feel like the characters actually connected. The plot was alright, if a little predictable at times. I will say that I thought the world building was quite good and the second half does get a bit better. One last thing to mention is the brutality of this book – it is not for the faint hearted or squeamish. I am currently unsure whether I will continue on with this series, but don’t let this review put you off – there are alot of good reviews of it.

 

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Ashes of London / Andrew Taylor / ★★★
This one had been compared to C. J. Sansom’s Shardlake series, so I was immediately interested in it. Overall this was an enjoyable read but it wasn’t much more than that. The characters lacked depth, the mystery wasn’t very well thought out (in my opinion) and sections dragged a little – the writing itself was quite good though. I will say it was quite a compelling read and I read it pretty quickly. Other than that I don’t really have a lot to say about this one – it was good but not great.

 

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Dreamer’s Pool / Juliet Marillier / ★★★
To be completely honest I was a little disappointed with this one. I have loved the first two books in the Sevenwaters trilogy and Heart’s Blood so I expected to love this too. Unfortunately I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy it, just not as much. The writing is great but where it fell for me was the characters and the plot. I quite liked Blackthorn and Grim, however I couldn’t handle the angst of the two main younger characters and their romance. I also don’t understand why the fey had to get involved. In terms of enjoyment this would probably be a two star rating but I’m adding a star for Marillier’s writing. I’m not in a hurry to continue with this series and I don’t know if I’ll bother anyway.

 

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Age of Swords / Michael J. Sullivan / ★★★.5
This is the second book in the Legends of the First Empire series and it didn’t disappoint. I thought this was a great continuation of this series. The character development is really well done, although I was pretty heartbroken about what happens to a certain character. I’m still not quite over it. I liked that the tone of these books are quite light – it’s not all sunshine and rainbows but the overall tone of these books aren’t dark. The amusing interactions with some characters really lend itself to this lighter tone. The plot moves pretty quickly and the action is done pretty well. I love the setting of these books too. Basically I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely be continuing with this series and I would highly recommend checking it out, especially if you enjoy fantasy.

 

The Shadow of What Was Lost / James Islington / ★★★.5
This is the first book in the Licanius trilogy and is his debut book. I thought this was a solid introduction to this new trilogy. The world building is done well, the plot is engaging and the writing is good. I found the world to be an interesting one, although I would have like more detail about it at times. For example a portion of this book is the characters travelling but there was no indication of distance, if that makes any sense – the map does help a little with this. I also just wanted to know more about the terrain, cultures etc. The characters are all pretty well written, if a little cliched at times. I will say I wanted more direction (and depth) from the characters though – a few times in the book the characters are just told to do something and I wanted to know what they wanted to do/what they felt is important. There were a few times that I felt things happening in the plot were a little too convenient too.  The book as a whole is pretty traditional in terms of the fantasy genre, so if you’re looking for a book that is doing something different then this is not the book for you. Overall a solid first book in a series and I will be checking out the second book.

 

 

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The Forgotten Beasts of Eld / Patricia A. McKillip / ★★★★
* I received a digital copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I’m always looking to try new fantasy books and when I saw this on Netgalley I requested it. I am so glad I did – this was fantastic and quite unique. The writing is great and I was so hooked that I read this in one day. The plot is fantastic. It’s not a particularly action packed fantasy so if that’s what you’re looking for than this isn’t for you, but if you like fantasy books with an immersive world, interesting characters and great writing than I highly recommend checking this out. I’m glad I stumbled upon it on Netgalley.

 

 

Dark Fire / C. J. Sansom / ★★★★
This is the second book in the Shardlake series. I think I enjoyed this even more than the first one. The characters are fantastic, the plot is compelling and the writing is great. I find these books so easy to get into. The mystery elements are so well done and the tension builds throughout the book. It was a fantastic continuation of this series and I am so excited to continue on with it. I highly recommend this series, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction.

 

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Daughter of the Empire / Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts / ★★★★
I picked this up on a bit of a whim as I was looking for some Asian inspired fantasy and this is set in a Japanese inspired world. I am very glad I did. I thought this was a fantastic start trilogy. It started out really strong and I was hooked from pretty early on. I have to say I wanted more of the world – more depth and history. It is an interesting world but I felt that it was a little lacking. The characters were fantastic and well written. I look forward to see how they will develop in the next books. I will say this is heavily centred around politics/intrigue so if that is not your thing then I wouldn’t recommend this. Personally I really enjoyed that element of this book. It is definitely not an action packed fantasy book but I didn’t mind that. I will definitely be checking out the rest of this trilogy. Full review coming soon.

 

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The Queen of Blood / Sarah Beth Durst / ★★★★
I’ve had my eye on this book for a while and have been debating whether to pick it up. I finally decided to get it as some holiday reading and I am very glad I did. The setting of this is a really interesting one – it’s set in a world with elemental spirits that are controlled by the Queen of Renthia and that everything is built on giant tree branches. This was definitely one of my favourite things about this book, as the world building is done pretty well. The characters are also well written and I found it so easy to get into this book. I was hooked from quite early on. It was such a compelling read set in a fantastic world with amazing characters. I highly recommend this, especially if you are a fan of fantasy. Full review coming soon

 

In terms of my TBR for July I would quite like to read some more fiction books that aren’t fantasy or sci-fi. You guys know by now that is primarily what I read so I want to branch out a bit, so that’s what I’m hoping to do in July. My classic pick of the month is going to be the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I would also love to get to A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki and Accusation by Bandi. You can see a few other books I want to get to in the picture below but I probably won’t get to all of them. I will most likely read some fantasy as well – I was recently granted digital copies of The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera and The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark and I am very excited to get to both. Other than that, I’m just going to read what I want to at the time.

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I’m finally on track with my goodreads goal, which I am pretty happy with. Let’s hope I can now keep it up :). I have to say I’m looking forward to branching out a bit more and hopefully having a more varied reading month in July, unless I get distracted by fantasy books. What was your favourite book you read in June? Mine is probably The Queen of Blood or Daughter of the Empire… or Dark Fire. I read quite a few good books this month :). I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Favourite Films

Hi guys how are you? To be honest with you guys I wasn’t sure what to post today so I thought I’d talk about some of my favourite films. You’re probably aware that I love reading 🙂 but I also love watching films and I’ve got quite a few favourites. I have already talked about some of my favourite films here and I’ve done a post about three of my favourite Studio Ghibli films, which you can check out here. Let’s get started.
  1. Mulan – directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook – this is a Disney classic and by far my favourite Disney film. The live action Mulan film (2009) is also great, but darker.
  2. The Dark Night trilogy – directed by Christopher Nolan – all of these films are so good and I’ve seen each at least twice.
  3. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – directed Lasse Hallström – this is just such an enjoyable film and would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a new rom-com to watch.
  4. Pitch Perfect – directed by Jason Moore – again this is such an enjoyable and fun film to watch. I love singing so I love that aspect of it and it’s pretty funny. I will say the second, while still good, was a little disappointing.
  5. Star Trek films – first and second films directed by J. J. Abrams and the third is directed by Justin Lin – I love these films and always look out for any new releases. The characters are great, the action is fantastic and there so enjoyable to watch.

 

I love watching films, so I’m always on the lookout for more to watch. These are some of my favourites I’ve found so far – there are more that I could talk about but I’ll leave it at that for now. What are some of your favourite films? I’d love to know. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. I thought since we’re now halfway through the year I would do the mid year freak out tag. This is such a great tag to look back on the first half of the year and see what I’ve been liking or not liking. Let’s get started.

 

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1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2016.
This is kind of tough as I’ve read quite a few fantastic books… One of my favourites would have to go to Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. I can’t just mention one book though so two other I’ve loved are The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams and Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan.

 

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2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016.
Probably The Bear and the Serpent by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which is the second book in the Echoes of the Fall series. I thought it was such a great continuation from the first book and I am so excited to see how things progress in the next book.

 

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3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. This sounds quite intriguing but I’m going to wait until it’s release in paperback or maybe see if I can get it at my local library. I’ve the first book in her series and didn’t love it if I’m being honest, but this sounds like it might be more my thing.

 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Well I would say I have two: The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman (October 19th) and Successor’s Promise by Trudi Canavan (September 19th). I am so excited for both of these books.

 

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5. Biggest disappointment.
The first book that comes to mind is Guns of Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I think I had unrealistic expectations of this book – I had loved three other books by this author and so I fully expected to love this one too, but I didn’t.

 

6. Biggest surprise.
Probably Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. I didn’t know that much about it and didn’t really know what to expect, but I ended up loving this book. Other than that I don’t really have an answer for this one.

 

7. Favourite new author (debut or new to you).
This has to go to Juliet Marillier. I read Daughter of the Forest back February and I loved it, but I’ve still only read four books by her. I fully intend on checking out a load of her other books. I think her writing is fantastic and the characters are so well written. She is definitely a new favourite author.
8. Newest fictional crush.
To be honest, I don’t really have any fictional crushes. Probably a bit boring but hey…

 

9. Newest favourite character.
Again I find it very hard to choose just one so some of my new favourites include Noon from Ninth Rain, Vaelin from the Raven’s Shadow trilogy, as well as Sorcha and Liadan from the Sevenwaters trilogy. There are quite a few more but I think I’ll leave it at that :).

 

10. Book that made you cry.
I very rarely cry at books – I don’t even remember the last time I cried at a book. Having said that, a book that definitely hits you in the feels was Son of the Shadow by Juliet Marillier. That book is pretty emotional at times.

 

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11. Book that made you happy.
Maybe Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell. It is such a entertaining series and it is such a joy to read them – I have only read the first two books in the series but I have loved both of them. I like that they are quite light and they’ve got good humour. I can’t wait to get to the next book.

 

I have to say I like doing this tag as it’s a great way to look back at my reading over the first half of the year. I’ve had a pretty good reading year so far – hopefully that will continue on over the next 6 months. There a quite a few new favourite books. Have you guys read any of these books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

The Legion of Flame / Anthony Ryan

Title / The Legion of Flame
Author / Anthony Ryan
Publication Date / 2017
Overall Star Rating / ★ 

 

Goodreads synopsis: For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood—and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed—to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen—a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it. Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire and for all of civilisation.

 

This is the second book in the Draconis Memoria series (the first being The Waking Fire) and it was one of my most anticipated book release of 2017. I am pleased to report that this is just as good as the first, possibly even better. I have to admit I did take me a little while to get into the flow of things again, but I think I should have reread the first book to refresh my memory. Having said that it’s so easy to get into these books. This series is set in a world inhabited by humans, drakes (dragons) and Blood Blessed, who take power from the blood of the drakes. Each type of dragon (Red, Blue, Green and Black) gives the drinker different powers. The magic system is such an interesting and unique one. One of my favourite things about these books is the world. I have to admit that I felt there were a few things were missing from the world building in book 1 (specifically about the white drake) but I love how the world was expanded upon on this sequel – we get some more history about this world and so there is a better understanding of everything that’s going on. Speaking of everything that’s going on, the plot is fantastic. It picks up pretty much straight after the events of the first book and throws you straight back into the action packed story. I love where the plot goes in this book. There were multiple times where I stayed up quite late reading this because I just needed to know what was going to happen next. Ryan does a wonderful job of weaving together the plot and character arcs, and the pacing of it is also done so well. I think at times the first book felt very much like a set up book but with this book it has very much settled into the flow of the story and the characters.

 

The characters in this book are fantastic. For me characters and their development is such an important element of books and so I am glad to say that it is really well done so far in this series. We get to continue on with some familiar characters from the first book but we also get to meet new ones too. Although it does have multiple perspective we mainly follow three characters – Claydon Torcreek, Lizanne Lethridge and Captain Corrick Hilemore. Each has a distinctive voice, are well written and fantastic character arcs. I definitely found Corrick’s perspective a little less engaging but I did still really enjoy his chapters. These books seriously have an amazing cast of characters. The addition of the perspective close to the White drake added so much to the tension (and creepiness) of the book. It reminded us of the stakes the characters are going against.  I will say there are a couple of times where I felt it was a little drawn out. Personally I didn’t have an issue with this, but it is perhaps something to be aware of. Generally I found that even if it dragged a little the writing and the world building pulled it through. The writing itself is great and as mentioned so easy to get into. Basically if you can’t tell already I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think it expanded on the first book so well and the ending makes me so excited for the next book. Before I finish this review, I wanted to mention the steampunk elements of this series. I haven’t read a lot of steampunk books but I really enjoy how it is incorporated in these books. If you are a fan of steampunk, then I would definitely check this one out.

 

Overall this is a fantastic sequel that really expands on the characters and world of the first book. As I mentioned it is perhaps a little drawn out at times, but I was hooked from very early on. I think this is going to be a trilogy, which means this series will be concluded in the next book, but I’m not completely sure that is the case. Either way I am very excited for the next book, although a little sad about the wait. I would highly recommend checking this series out, especially if you are a fan of fantasy and dragons/drakes. Quick side not before I go, I love the UK covers for this series! Have you guys read the first book? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa