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Joined 4 months ago


When I don't procrastinate, I read. Mostly fantasy and sci-fi. But I read everything else as well.

I grew up speaking French and German - I'm Swiss - but I now live in England.

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Of Blood and Fire (Hardcover, 2021, Ryan Cahill) 3 stars

Review of 'Of Blood and Fire' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I don't really know how to rate Of Blood and Fire.

I really enjoy watching an author grow, and pointing out all the shortcomings of a debut feels like being unnecessarily mean, but on the other hand there were things I didn't enjoy about this book...

The prose is rough around the edges, and at times it really didn't work for me.

There were a few random point of view changes that didn't add much to the story (one even felt completely out of the blue with not much set-up), and some of the characters didn't feel as fleshed out as they could have been. Most were lacking depth, something that I'm hopeful will change as Cahill grows as an author.

There was one death in particular that just didn't move me even though it probably should have.

The story is a blend of WOT, Eragon and other classic fantasy …

Hamnet (Paperback, 2019, Tinder Press) 4 stars

Drawing on Maggie O'Farrell's long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare's most enigmatic play, …

Review of 'Hamnet' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This was a recommendation from a friend, and I have a couple of thoughts, mostly mixed.

Lyrical prose, sure. At times beautiful, at times too purple and overbearing, made worse by the present tense.

Emotional, sure. But child loss is always emotional?

Hamnet is really about Agnes, Hamnet's mother and Shakespeare's wife. Through her, we get a glimpse of the bard's life, but mostly we watch her grow up, lose a mother, fall in love, create a family, protect that family, grieve a son.

A solid read that neither wowed me nor let me down. The fourth star is because it not only kept me reading but also evoked an emotional reaction.

Review of 'Mother of Learning' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

4.5 Stars.

A time loop, a student who has to improve rapidly in order to save his world, and a fascinating magic system make Mother of Learning's first book an absolute treat to read.

Yes, it started out as a web serial, but if that's the reason you haven't tried this series and you like progression fantasy and time loops, please don't let this deter you.

This book is pure fun! And so incredibly gripping. I basically devoured it, reading on my phone whenever I possibly could.

No, the prose isn't the best I've ever seen, but it's easily accessible and flows nicely. There isn't a lot of worldbuilding either, most of the plot unfolds in one place, and there is limited scope. And since this story is set in a time loop, the characters don't grow all that much either.

The pacing, however, is incredible. The plot is tight, …

Review of 'Hunted' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

3.75 stars.
This is my first K.M. Shea novel. It's a clean werewolf novel; pretty predictable at times, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment.
Pleasant prose, good pacing, and likeable characters.
Pip is an excellent main character, and her relationship with the Pack is incredibly sweet. (Although I found the forced cuddling somewhat bizarre.)
Greyson, the Alpha, is my ideal kind of partner.
The romance is subtle and not the main focus but I'm rooting for the pairing.
A cosy tone overall made this a treat. Recommended to shifter fans.

We Were Liars (2014, Hot Key Books) 4 stars

A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political …

Review of 'We Were Liars' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Aww, shucks, We Were Liars didn't really work for me.

It seems that I've consumed too many stories with an unreliable narrator suffering from amnesia. I quickly realised where the story was headed, and once you know, it's right there on the page, staring you in the face (and yes it lessened my enjoyment.)

I didn't mind the prose; I like when an author plays around with style. It doesn't always work, but I quite liked Lockhart's attempt even though some other reviewers found it awful. The characters don't stand out. They're not flat, but they're not memorable either.

This would have blown my mind twenty (even ten) years ago, unfortunately I'm turning into a grumpy old lady who is difficult to impress.

The Inheritance Games (2020, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) 4 stars

Review of 'The Inheritance Games' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I had a blast reading this entertaining young adult mystery novel about a teenage girl who - out of the blue - inherits several billions from a philanthropist even though she's never met him before (and, of course, he has not one, not two, but four handsome and also somewhat baffled and miffed grandsons) and no, for once I didn't care that the plot is ridiculous at times, and that the twists are fairly predictable, and that the characters are...well, straight out of a YA novel.

I want more. I'd also super like a billion dollars, please.

The First Binding (Hardcover, 2022, Tor Books) 3 stars

Review of 'The First Binding' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I received a copy from the publisher. My reviews are always honest.

I've been following R.R. Virdi's inspiring journey for a while now and have been eagerly awaiting this release.

I have also been in a reading slump for months, basically for most of 2022, and I was worried that I wouldn't manage to tackle this 800 page book, but the opening drew me in right away, and I rarely looked up to check Twitter on my phone. That's a rarity nowadays.

The First Binding is the first novel in a new epic fantasy series, Tales of Tremaine, infused with South Asian world-building elements, and if you've read The Name of the Wind, you will without a doubt compare the two.

The opening and pacing in general is slow. Virdi takes great care to build the characters, world, and plot without rushing, but at no point did I feel impatient. …

Wranglestone (2020, Stripes Publishers, U. S. A.) 3 stars

Review of 'Wranglestone' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Hm. Olivia and hyped books, rarely do they go well together, and yet I keep picking them up.

I enjoyed Wranglestone but didn't love it despite the post-apocalyptic setting and the queer romance.

A strong opening paired with a great premise. A gripping voice, written in accessible prose. But the rest felt rushed and unfinished. The world-building is shaky at best. The romance is too swift, and the characters are minimally developed, one-dimensional at times.

An entertaining read for sure but nothing more.

Iron Widow (Hardcover, Italiano language, 2022, Rizzoli) 4 stars

“Forse, se le cose fossero diverse, a questo mi potrei abituare. A venire cullata nel …

Review of 'Iron Widow' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Iron Widow has a fantastic premise that drew me right in. The world-building is inspired by Chinese history, set in a futuristic world where giant mecha piloted by humans fight robotic alien invaders.

This novel offers queer characters, polyamorous relationships, and a lot of (properly raging) feminism set within a patriarchal society.

The pacing is swift and the plot gripping.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

Unfortunately the world-building is inconsistent, and neither the conflict at the heart of the story nor the society Wu Zetian grew up in is explored.

The writing is...maybe appropriate for a YA book but I found it juvenile at times.

The feminism lacks depth, and consists mostly of a screeching woman who kills everyone and then let me be clear, I'm all for unhinged female characters and I'm all for a good villain or even morally grey or ambiguous character, but this here just felt …

Lilia Albert has been leaving people behind for her entire life. She spends her childhood …

Review of 'Last Night in Montreal' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I'm currently reading every book St. John Mandel has ever written. I loved [b:Station Eleven|20170404|Station Eleven|Emily St. John Mandel||28098716], [b:The Glass Hotel|45754981|The Glass Hotel|Emily St. John Mandel||57817644], and [b:Sea of Tranquility|58446227|Sea of Tranquility|Emily St. John Mandel||92408226]. Last Night in Montreal isn't quite in the same league and a bit rough around the edges.

If you're a fan of hers, please do read it. Her writing is skilled, and I love the way she's weaving her non-linear narratives, but if you're looking for your first St. John Mandel, pick up Station Eleven instead.

Singer's Gun (2015, Pan Macmillan) 3 stars

Everyone Anton Waker grew up with is corrupt. His parents deal in stolen goods and …

Review of "Singer's Gun" on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

The Singer's Gun isn't Mandel's best book, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
While I liked the way Mandel structured the story, the characters and the plot left me feeling detached and rather unmoved. The narrative structure is elegant, and the prose a delight.
What I especially like about all of Mandel's books is the way she focuses on ordinary (flawed) characters encountering extraordinary circumstances, and she does that with a surprising amount of care and love.

Review of 'Kaiju : Battlefield Surgeon' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I genuinely wouldn't recommend this book to the casual reader.

Firstly, it's a litRPG. The protagonist is trapped in a virtual reality game, his body stuck in a gaming rig pod thingamajig.

Secondly, this is horror. The blurb doesn't exaggerate. There is torture, violence, gore, and a pet tapeworm called Banksy.

It's gross. First author to make me retch. I usually need visuals for that. Words don't really translate into an image for me (aphantasia), so that's quite the achievement. Kudos to the author. (And for those who know, yes it was the milk.)

I just shuddered.

Anyway, back to my review: I swallowed all 600 pages in less than twenty-four hours. Compelling, tense, incredibly well written. I loved this book.

Who would have thought. Not me.