Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima

Title / The Demon KingThe Exiled QueenThe Gray Wolf Throne and The Crimson Crown.
Author / Cinda Williams Chima
Publication Date / 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012
Overall Star Rating / 
Goodreads synopsis of book 1: Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch, and reformed thief Han Alister must rely on all his skills to provide for his mother and his sister. While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer, discover three young wizards using a magical amulet to set fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han wrestles it from them, but without realising that his heroism has put him and his family in great danger. For the young arsonist is Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, and the amulet a treasure with immense power; it once belonged to the Demon King, the legendary wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. The Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back. Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, Princess Heir of the Fells, has just returned to the city after spending three years with her father’s Clan in the mountains. She aspires to be like Hanalea, the legendary warrior-queen who vanquished the Demon King and saved the world, but her mother has other plans for her – plans that will put both the queendom and Raisa’s future in great danger. The Seven Realms will tremble when the adventures of Han and Raisa collide in this stunning new page-turner from bestselling author Cinda Williams Chima.

 

This is a four book high fantasy series set in a traditional fantasy world of medieval elements. The first book lays down a good foundation for this series but it is a little slow at times and the pacing can be a bit uneven at times, but bear with it. To be honest all of the books suffer a little with uneven pacing and it does drag at times. It could perhaps do with a little refinement, especially in terms of the flow of plot. I think the first book is definitely the weakest one so if you’ve read it and weren’t sure about it, I would recommend giving the second book a go. Mostly the plot is engaging though. The world is well written and I loved the different areas of the world. We also got a fair amount of history of the world, allowing for a better understanding of it. It has a great mix of politics, war, magic, adventure and romance.  I really enjoy the characters in this book. Both Raisa and Han are fantastic protagonists. Raisa is definitely a bit of a typical princess but I liked her overall progression throughout the four books. Han’s progression is just as good as well. One thing I found a little frustrating in the first book is the number of love interests. I personally don’t enjoy such things, but it didn’t detract too much from the reading experience and it doesn’t last too long. The writing is generally good, although I kind of felt it was a bit lacking at times. I thought the conclusion to the series was a great one. Each book is better than the last, in my opinion, although none of them are perfect (what book is though?). I found these books to be relatively easy, entertaining and engaging reads.

 

Overall I think this is a fantastic high fantasy series. Yes it does have some flaws but I enjoyed each of the books and I would recommend it, especially if you are a big fan of the fantasy genre. The characters can appear abit cliched, especially in book one, but in my opinion their progression through the books is great and I personally really like them. The plot, while slow to begin with, develops very well and I love how it progresses. The world is also well written. As previously mentioned, the pacing and slow plot are my two main issues with this series. Having said that, I didn’t find it affected my reading experience very much, but I can see how it may be an issue for other readers. Reading back over this, I’m realising it is quite short, but hopefully that just means I’m being concise! I hope you guys don’t mind it’s a little short. Have you guys read this series? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Discussion: Physical books or E-books

Hi guys, how are you all? Since I haven’t done a discussion post for a while, I thought it was about time to I did another one. I wanted to chat with you guys about physical books and e-books. Which one do you guys prefer? I have always preferred physical books, but over the years I’ve definitely come to see the use of e-books.

 

For me, I just love the feel of a physical book – I like reading from them. When I was younger e-readers weren’t a thing, so physical books were what we had, if that makes sense. I think it’s also important to support local book shops and that means buying physical books :). I’m pretty sure I will always prefer physical books – they are just nicer. Having said that there are some perks to e-books. I remember the days going on holiday before having a kindle and my bag would be heavy with books. I remember taking Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling and it took up most of my bag – I still finished all of my books and we had to find a English book shop to find some more. Basically the kindle or any e-reader is fantastic when you are going away as it means you can take plenty of reading material in a small tablet. It can also be quite good when you have a very heavy/long book as big books can be quite awkward to read. Another use I’ve found is the ability to get books through Negalley on my kindle. As a book blogger, I basically read alot and to make sure I’ve got new content it’s important to me to read new books and releases. Netgalley allows me to do that, without completely breaking my bank account. So my kindle is really useful in that way. There are definitely pros and cons for both.

 

Overall I will always choose physical books over e-books, but as I’ve mentioned I can definitely see the pros and cons of both. I’m interested to know what you guys think – do you prefer physical books or e-books? Do you have particular reasons for that preference? Let’s discuss :). I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.
Pippa

How I Blog

Hi guys, I hope you are all well. Today I thought I would share some insight into how I blog. I don’t know if anyone is interested but I thought I’d do it anyway :). Basically I am going to talk about my blogging routine, things I use etc. I figured it was a pretty good time to do something like this as I’ve been blogging for over a year now. Having said that, I am by no means an expert and I think I still have things to learn/develop. So if you guys have any ideas for improvement or any requests of posts then please let me know!

 

So I’m the type that likes to be organised – it’s how I’ve always been, I think. I will never be able to write up an essay or blog post on short notice. To be at my best I need to be able to take my time, that is just how I am. Consequently I like to schedule my posts in advance. There are some that I may have to be a bit more flexible on, but generally I like to have things done in advance. Even if it’s just a completed draft sitting in my draft file, if that makes sense. I like to have some reviews sitting in drafts, just in case I need them as I like to take plenty of time to write them. Obviously this won’t work for everyone, so you’ll just have to find what works for you. I also like to provide a link for each book mentioned to my affiliate Wordery link – just in case anyone wants to purchase them. It’s a great way of supporting me, if you so wish (no pressure though). In terms of my camera, I either use my Nikon D3100 or my new Nikon Coolpix A900. To be honest I only use the editing stuff in the photo gallery of my laptop, but I want to up my photo taking so if you have any suggestions for improvement or a great photo editor then please let me know. I tend to brighten and sharpen each photo, as well as any cropping that’s needed. Once a post is published I’ll share it on my social media platforms. I always share it on twitter, at least a couple of times on the day I post it and then I’ll share it a few more times later on if I remember :). Sometimes I share it on Instagram as well but I need to do it with more regularity. Other places I share my posts include Bloglovin and Google+.  To be honest, I’m not great at publicising myself or this blog – I just don’t like to put myself out there but you kind of have it. It’s something that I need to work on with my blog. I love getting comments on my blog, so I try to respond to them as soon as I can. If I don’t than I apologise – some comments randomly get put in my spam box so I may not see them until a bit later.
I organise everything blog related in my bullet journal, as I like to have it all in one place. I have pages dedicated to a stats tracker, my blogs schedule, post ideas etc. Everything that may help me with my blog. As I’ve said I like to be organise so I like to have an idea of what I am going to be posting in advance. I tend to try and have an idea of most of the posts I want to share in a month before the month has started. So although we are in May right now, I am currently thinking about what I want to post in June. That’s just how I work. A monthly spread works really well for me as it means I can have what I plan for an entire month in one place.

 

That’s how I blog. I am sure I have a lot of room for improvement but I find that this works for me and I am happy with where things are now. I don’t know if this is the most efficient or best way to do it but it’s just the way I’ve started to do it. I still can’t quite believe it’s been over a year now but I’m excited to see how things will progress in the next year :). I am so thankful to everyone that supports my blog! I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Read The Tales of Shikanoko series by Lian Hearn

Hi guys, how are you all doing? I’m back today to share a review – I am sure you guys know the routine now :). I haven’t done a 5 reasons to read style review for a while, so I thought I would do one today. Sometimes it’s easier to organise my thoughts this way. You can see from the title what I’m going to be talking about so I’m just going to get straight into it :).

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  1. The setting is amazing. It is set in a mythical medieval Japan, which is what drew to this book in the first place. I absolutely love this setting – it is definitely one of my favourite things about this book. The world building is fantastic and it is such an interesting world.
  2. The characters are all interesting and complex – I like that the characters are not good or evil, they are a bit of both. The way that it is written means that it is sometimes a little hard to feel connected with the characters, but it is still interesting to see how they progress and I didn’t have an issue with it. One thing to note is there are quite a lot of characters, so it is a little tricky to keep track of everything at first, but I found it resolved itself after a couple of chapters.
  3. I love the mystical feel of this book. It very much feels like you are reading an old myth, and I wonder whether if you have more knowledge of Japanese myths, you would get more enjoyment or a better understanding of things. It is by no means necessary to have that background knowledge though.
  4. More good points about this book include a great twisty plot, a interesting and well done magic system, political intrigue and great action. Also the covers are stunning :).
  5. If you like mythology, especially Japanese mythology, then I think you will enjoy this and I would definitely recommend checking it out.

 

There you have it – 5 reasons to read the Tales of Shikanoko series. I loved these books and I look forward to reading Hearn’s other series. This is definitely not going to be for everyone – I think because of the writing style it can seem quite impersonal and therefore hard to connect with the characters. I didn’t have an issue with that, but perhaps it is something to be aware of. Have you guys read these books? What did you think? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

 

 

To Be Read Book Tag

Hi guys, I thought I would share a tag with you all today as I haven’t done one in a while. This one is all about your tbr, hence the name :). I have to admit I’m not very good at keeping track of my TBR. I’ve toyed with the idea of separating my TBR books from my read ones, but I can’t quite make myself do it. Anyway onto the questions.

 

How do you keep track of your TBR pile.
To be honest I don’t really. I just kind of look at my bookshelves and keep track through checking unread books that way. I do also have a tbr shelf on goodreads, but that also has books I want to read and don’t own yet. Basically I don’t really…

 

Is your TBR mostly print or ebooks?
Definitely print books. I am very much a fan of physical book over ebooks but I do love ebooks when I’m away from my physical books and don’t want to carry them away. I remember going on holiday and my bag would be full of books to read – now it is so much easier with my kindle.

 

A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest.
This one has to go to Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, although The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth has been on my tbr for quite a while now. I find both of these books quite intimidating so I just haven’t gotten around to them yet. Hopefully I’ll have read at least one of them by the end of the year.

 

A book you recently added to your TBR.
A recent addition to my TBR is The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I recently read The Woman in White by the same author and really enjoyed it, so I want to read more of his books. I’ve heard great things about The Moonstone so I’m excited to try it out.

 

A book in your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.
I don’t have an answer for this, as I’m never interested in a book just because of it’s cover.

 

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading.
Again I don’t have an answer for this as I plan to read all the books on my TBR eventually.

 

An unpublished book on your TBR that you are excited for.
There are quite a few I could choose from but I think I am going to go with The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman. This book has been in the making for quite some time and I am so excited that it is being published this year. It is set 10 years before Northern Lights and Lyra is back – I adore His Dark Materials so of course I need this book in my life.

 

A book on your TBR that basically everyone’s read except for you.
I don’t really know about this one. Maybe Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor… it’s pretty popular since it’s release but I haven’t read it yet. I think I’ll wait until it comes out in paperback.

 

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.
I’m not really sure about this one but a few people recommended the Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom to me and I really enjoyed the first book. I currently have the second book on my tbr. Other than that I can’t think of any.

 

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.
There are so many books to choose from… I’m excited to read all of the books on my TBR. That’s why I’ve added them :). A few books I want to read soon are A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, Certainty by Madeleine Thien and Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb.

 

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf
Currently there are 114 books on my TBR shelf on Goodreads… wish me luck :).

 

Maybe this post will motivate me to organise my TBR a bit more. I’m alright at keeping my Goodreads TBR shelf updated but other than that I’m not very organised. I might trial a TBR shelf to see how that works out… How do you guys organise your TBR books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

TTT: Favourite Covers

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It is that time of the week for another Top Ten Tuesday. It is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This weeks topic is a cover freebie, so I am going to be sharing 10 of my favourite covers. I have to admit that if a cover is nice or pretty, than I am more likely to check it out, and there are some really amazing book covers out there. By the way, I also apologise in advance for my shadow in some of the photos – I will work on that in the future. Onto 10 of my favourite covers.

 

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The Penguin English library editions – these are two of my favourites, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and North and South!

 

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This 30th anniversary edition of An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

 

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Grimm Tales for Young and Old by Philip Pullman

 

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These naked hardbacks of the two books in the Tales of Shikanoko series by Lian Hearn – Emperor of the Eight Islands and Lord of the Darkwood.

 

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The Good People by Hannah Kent

 

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These paperback editions of Brandon Sanderson’s books – Elantris and The Final Empire

 

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The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

 

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Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien – they’ve also released a couple of her other books in similar editions and they are also amazing.

 

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These editions of all Robin Hobb books, designed by Jackie Morris (I think) – Dragon Keeper and Fool’s Errand

 

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Lastly, The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky – it’s sequel, The Bear and the Serpent, also has an stunning cover but I don’t own a copy yet.

 

There are many more amazing covers that I could share but I can leave that for another time :). These covers are definitely some of my favourites at the moment though. I’d be interested if you guys think covers are important… personally I think they are as I think as humans we are drawn by attractive things, obviously this will differ for people. Anyway I hope you guys are having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa

 

 

Big Books on my TBR

Hi guys, how are you? I can’t quite believe we are now in May – this year seems to be going pretty quickly. Anyway it’s time for another blog post and today I thought I would share all of the big books on my tbr. I don’t tend to be intimidated by the size of a book, unless it’s around or over a thousand pages, and I have quite a few big books on my TBR. The ones I am sharing today are all over 500 pages long. So let’s get started.

 

  • Little Dorrit / Charles Dicken
  • Words of Radiance Part 1 / Brandon Sanderson
  • Dragon Haven / Robin Hobb
  • The Poisonwood Bible / Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Blind Assassin / Margaret Atwood
  • Sons of Shadow / Juliet Maurillier
  • Little Women / Louisa May Alcott
  • The Makioka Sisters / Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

 

These are all the big books that I currently own but haven’t got around to reading yet. There are many more that I don’t own yet but I figured I’d start by sharing the ones I own :). Have you guys read any of these? Also I’d be interested to know if you guys are intimidated to the size of books? I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.

 

Pippa