Book Review Roundup

Hey Folks! This is a quick review of the books I read in March and April. No lilypad ratings here, just a quick blurb!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This was definitely a break from my usual sci fi/fantasy reads. Its the story of a family in Shaker Heights, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) and the drama that ensues when a free spirited artist and her teenage daughter move into a rental home owned by a prominent Shaker Heights family. There’s secrets, lies, interracial adoptions, and more! I really wanted to read the book because of the interracial adoption angle, but the story is less about that and more about the examination of a dysfunctional family. Since that’s not really my thing, the story, while interesting, didn’t seem to have a resolution. I think I need a concrete problem or issue that needs to be solved by the end. Even something as straightforward as a “will the couple break up or stay together?”. I understand why the book has received the accolades it has. It was very well written, just not what I was expecting.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

I was disappointed by this book. It kept showing up in my Amazon recommendations, so I caved in and gave it a try. I also got the audiobook to help me get through it. It just never clicked for me. It was definitely a break from the medieval fantasy and dystopian stories that I usually enjoy, and that’s a good thing. I could never really connect with the main character, and I wasn’t able to invest in the world. Maybe the stakes were not high enough, I’m not sure. I read it and promptly forgot about it. I wouldn’t say it was bad, it just wasn’t engrossing. Not very helpful, I know, but my overall feeling was…meh.

Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey

This is the 8th and penultimate novel in The Expanse. I really enjoyed it, but I would have enjoyed it more if I had re-read Persepolis Rising, which is book 7. The action starts right up, without much review or exposition about what went down before. I gradually remembered stuff, but re-reading really would have helped. Plus, as usual with The Expanse, I was so caught up in the plot and the characters that I love, that I probably read it too fast! I highly recommend the series as a whole. I also recommend the Amazon Prime TV show, The Expanse, which is based on the book series. You can watch all three season in preparation for season 4, which is due later this year.

A Time of Blood by John Gwynne

This is the second book in the trilogy, Of Blood and Bone. I liked this one more than the first book, A Time of Dread. There were a few more callbacks to the events in the original series, The Faithful and the Fallen. You don’t need to have read The Faithful and the Fallen to enjoy this series, but its nice to get the real stories behind the legends. If you enjoyed the first series, definitely get your hands on this one. Now the long wait for the conclusion!

So that brings you up to date. The next book on my list is Empire of Grass, by Tad Williams. The book comes out on Tuesday, May 7th. Its the second book in The Last King of Osten Ard series. This new series takes place roughly 30 years after the end of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Can’t wait!

Happy Reading!

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

This book has been popping all over the place. The level of hype was closer to what you would get for a movie or tv show, rather than a debut novel. Does it live it up to the hype? Mostly yes.

The most interesting thing about the book is the structure. The story of Kihrin, our main protagonist, is told in a fragmented form by two narrators. Kihrin narrates the more recent events of his life, those events that lead us to the jail cell where we first meet him. Another narrative (I won’t give that away), tells Kihrin’s story from further back in his past. There is also a third narrator, who will eventually pick up the story, who provides insights throughout both narratives in the form of footnotes. I wasn’t sure how I would like the narrative structure, but once I got used to it, I quite enjoyed it. It did make a good plot better.

The plot itself was intriguing, but at times there seemed to be plot twists for the sake of plot twists. One of those twists was the parentage of one of the characters. It kept changing, to the point where I was not sure what was true anymore. Now, that could very well be the point, the narrators are not entirely reliable, but it was still a bit more twisty than I thought it needed to be. The plot was already compelling, I didn’t find the additional twists to be necessary. On its surface, the story revolves around Kihrin finding his true destiny and saving the world, but there is a nice sort of twist at the end, that really sets up the other books in the series. That was a twist I appreciated and felt was earned.

A very special shout out to the audiobook. There were three different performers used to wonderful affect. I found myself wanting to listen to the book more than reading it.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book. The story isn’t completely unfamiliar to anyone who has read a lot of fantasy, but the narrative device gave it a fresh feel that I really appreciated. I will definitely read this before the next book in the series comes out, since I do feel like I may have missed a few connections on my first read through.

Lillypad Rating: 4 out of 5

2019 Expectations!

Its been awhile but I’m back. Happy New Year! I feel like January was just an extension of 2018, so the new year is really kicking off in February!

There are lots of new releases coming in 2019. Here are some of the ones I am most looking forward to (in no particular order):

  1. Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian (February 5)
  2. Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons (February 5)
  3. Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey ( March 26)
  4. Empire of Grass by Tad Williams (May 7)
  5. Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (June 4)
  6. Age of Legend by Michael J. Sullivan (July 9)
  7. Winds of Winter by George R. R.  Martin (??) Yes, I know this is unlikely, but it always goes on the list. 🙂

There are some other books that I’d like to read this year. Here are few that I didn’t get to last year, or when they were first released, but I’d like to add to my list for 2019. Again, in no particular order:

  1. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jessamyn Ward
  2. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
  3. City of Bones by Martha Wells

I finished A Time of Dread by John Gwynne a few days ago. This is a trilogy that takes place about 100 years after events at the end of The Faithful and the Fallen Series. It took me a little bit to remember the events and characters of Faithful and the Fallen, but once I re-oriented myself, I found myself deeply emerged in the world all over again. The characters from the first series are long dead of course, but we do get glimpses of what happened to them, and how those events have shaped the world today. Definitely recommend it . Lilypad Rating: LilyPadLilyPadLilyPadLilyPad

I am currently reading King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist. It has been a long time since I’ve read anything from Mr. Feist. I happened to see this on an Amazon recommendation list, and I was excited to dive back into his works. I am enjoying it so far. The world building is almost too detailed. That is quite a bit of info dumping in these early chapters, but I’m invested enough at this early stage to keep going.

What’s on your list for 2019?