May 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part One [Books]

May 2020JanuaryFebruary / March Part 1 / March Part 2/ April Part 1 / April Part 2

This will be another two parter, as I ended up reading 16 books in May. So I’m not going to even speculate here and say, “Oh I probably won’t read as many in June” because I have now done that twice before and I did, indeed, read as many. So, we’ll see. But as of the time of writing this, I am currently all caught up with my reviews! Which is annoying because it means I’ll have to think of other content to fill up the time between reviews.

A Cosmology of Monsters – Shaun Hamilla cosmology of monsters

My Review

A fantastic, haunting tale of a family haunted by monsters, told through the eyes of the youngest member. This was one of my first NetGalley reads, and it’s from my favourite publisher (Titan) – it definitely did not disappoint.

A Collection of Dreamscapes – Christina Sng

a collection of dreamscapes

Review Coming Soon on Dead Head Reviews

I touch on it more in my review, but I’m not the biggest fan of poetry. A Collection of Dreamscapes, however, might have converted me. Sng gives us a solid, varied collection, a mixture of dark fantasy and horror, and one which I devoured really easily.

Venators: Promises Forged – Devri Wells

venators 2

My Review

I read this as part of a blog tour. It’s the sequel to the fantastic Venators: Magic Unleashed, and it was great to get more into this world and see more of these characters. I think I preferred this one to the first – there was just more to it, rather than having to spend more time setting things up. Definitely a series I’ll be sticking with.

How to Write Your First Novel – Sophie King

how to write your first novel

My Review

A writing advice book I didn’t find particularly helpful. I love books about the craft of writing, but I’ve been increasingly disappointed by them. I’ll keep reading though, and you’ll definitely hear about it when I find good ones, like one I read later in the month.

So This Is Love – Elizabeth Lim

so this is love

My Review

I love the Twisted Tales series. And since reading the Mulan tale Reflection, I have absolutely loved Lim’s writing, including her non-Disney debut novel, Spin the Dawn. The latest addition to the series, So This Is Love, looks at what happens if Cinderella never tried on the glass slipper. It’s another example of Lim’s fantastic, wonderful writing, and she pulls you so completely into this world. Cannot wait for her next book, whether it’s the Spin the Dawn sequel or another Twisted Tale.

New York City in 1979 – Kathy Acker

new york in 1979

My Review

This is one of those books I feel like I should have liked more than I did, and if I wasn’t trying to use it as research, I maybe would have. This very much falls into the category of experimental writing, with snapshots of conversation sprinkled in with images and some description. I don’t think this was a case of ‘not for me’, but more that I picked it up at the wrong time.

The Dark Continent – Scott Reardon

the dark continent

My Review

This was one I wasn’t fussed on. It was a little too ‘action’ based for me, too repetitive, and too long. ‘Continent’ is overstating things too when the area affected by events in the novel is a section of the USA. But anyway, that aside, as I say in my review I can see the appeal for some readers, and I think there are those who’d likely get a kick out of this.

iZombie, Volume 1: Dead to the World

izombie

My Review

I really enjoyed this graphic novel, and liked the mix of different ‘monsters’. It’s vastly different from the TV show (I’m now on season 2), but the TV show does have slight nods to the graphic novel. Both are very good though, and I’m excited to check out volume 2.

So there’s the first 8 for May! Keep an eye out for part 2 soon.

Venators: Promises Forged – Devri Wells [WriteReads Ultimate Blog Tour]

Goodreads Summary

It has been mere days in the world of Eon, where Rune Jenkins, her twin brother Ryker, and their friend Grey have been trapped, fighting for their lives. After discovering the truth of their ancestry, the three are far from home, and far from anything resembling their mundane lives of the past.
While Ryker is still held captive by the eerily beautiful Zio and her goblins, Grey falls into the clutches of Feena, the Fae queen. She begins to drain his soul bit by bit to feed her dark underground garden, and Grey has no hope of escaping on his own.
It is now up to Rune to save Grey, as his precious time slips away inexorably. But the Council has denied her permission to embark on a rescue mission, until she can harness her Venator gifts and prove herself capable of venturing into the Fae queen’s territory. As Rune discovers that promises in Eon are forged with life-or-death consequences, she realizes that she must act quickly, or else be swallowed – and Grey along with her – by the dangers of Eon.

venators 2

Review

So today is my stop on The Write Read’s Ultimate Blog Tour for Venators: Promises Forged. I was really excited for this, after being part of the tour for Venators: Magic Unleashed, and absolutely loving that book.

It did not disappoint.

The first book left things fairly unresolved, and the second picks up immediately after the first, with the characters recovering from their adventures. They have to deal with the fallout of their actions, and both Rune and Grey realise the world they’re in is a lot more complicated than they initially thought.

Promises Forged does a great job of deepening this world, revealing more of the politics and customs surrounding the council and the various situations likely to affect these characters. We also get glimpses of Ryker, seeing what effect his imprisonment and the strange world he’s found himself in are having.

We get to see more of Rune and Grey, as well as witnessing the consequences suffered when they rush into situations without fully understanding them. Rune, though desperate to get her brother back, knows she cannot do her job without Grey. And Grey still just wants to help people, but through the course of book 2 they both learn how they might be able to use the various rules and constrictions to their advantage.

I really enjoyed seeing more of the characters around Rune and Grey in this book, as well as the further worldbuilding that takes place. There’s some interesting antagonists introduced, and the last third contained enough twists and turns to make it feel almost like a rollercoaster.

Sometimes, in a trilogy, the series starts out with a strong premise that maybe falls a little flat in book 2. It’s the second book which will convince people to read the next, and even if the series is longer, I think it’s the second book which can really hook people in and make them stay for the duration. It can be dangerous territory, but Wells pulls it off really, really well.

Promises Forged delivers on, well, it’s promise. It does exactly what a second book needs to do; it resolves some situations, while leaving others open to be continued in the next book, it deepens our understanding of the world and develops the characters further, while putting them in even more danger than the first book.

I liked the first book, but I loved the second., It was a fun, enjoyable read that does a lot for this series, and now I feel completely engaged with Rune and Grey’s story, caught up in this world and the possibility of what might happen to them. Both Magic Unleashed and Promises Forged, with everything you could want from a portal fantasy and more.