Get To Know the Fantasy Reader Book Tag

The point of this book tag, as you could probably discern from its title, is to get to know a fantasy reader better. I first saw this tag on Aster Marie’s blog at Happy Bookish After. It looked like fun, and I hadn’t done a book tag in a while, so clearly I decided to participate! Bree Hill originally created this tag as the Get to Know the Romance Reader Tag, which appears to be a broken link now. However, The Book Pusher adapted it for fantasy readers. I pulled the questions from The Book Pusher’s YouTube listing.

Before I get started, I want to tag Caitlin @ Realms of My Mind, H.C. Newton @ The Irresponsible Reader, and Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. And even if I didn’t tag you, feel free to tag yourself! Onward to the questions!

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Top 5 Books Featuring Wyrd and Wonder Mascots

IMAGE CREDITS: tree wolf image by chic2view on The gorgeous tree wolf is not royalty-free, but is licensed for use to promote Wyrd and Wonder online. You are welcome to use the banner on your Wyrd and Wonder posts, but please make no changes (except to resize if needed) and always credit the artist!

Wyrd and Wonder is a celebration of all things fantasy. The format of figurative consumption doesn’t matter. You can read, watch, game, puzzle, etc. anything fantasy! To learn more visit my introduction post, which includes links to the hosts and more information about this month-long appreciation of the fantasy genre.

Part of this celebration includes posting Top 5 lists according to various prompts, if you so choose. Those prompts are available on Imyril’s blog There’s Always Room For One More. This week’s prompt is a Top 5 list of books that feature Wyrd and Wonder mascots.

We’ve had five gorgeous mascots so far: dragon, phoenix, pegasus, raven and wolf. Share some favourite books that feature (one of) these beauties on the cover, as a character or as part of the world-building. Mix and match mascots or focus a top five on your favourite.

In no particular order, here are my top five to answer this prompt.

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Life’s A Beach Book Tag

Tabitha at Behind the Pages tagged me in this book tag well over a month ago. Only now am I getting around to it, sheepishly. The Life’s a Beach book tag was created by Lefty on on Left Hand Book Lover, but I saw it on Tabitha’s blog. Check out Tabitha’s answers here. Make sure to mention that Lefty is the creator, and tag who tagged you, if you choose to participate!

I tag Mint at Mint Loves Books, Emma at Bookmarked Dreamscapes, and whoever else finds this fun!

The Sand
A book that stuck with you long after you finished reading

I mean, if you saw any of my posts during the Christmas 2021 season, then you can probably predict my answer. A Court of Mist and Fury stuck with me for a long time after I read it. Ultimately, this book pushed me to start a book review blog so I’d have others to chat to about books. I really want to reread it, but that will probably have to wait until the mid-year.

The Sun
A book that burned you

I think this means one I had hopes for, but then in the end didn’t pan out for me? If so, then that would be Immortal Souls. The cover drew me in on NetGalley, but ultimately the pacing was way too fast and nearly all of the characters were flat. Plus I felt like I was inadvertently “tricked” into reading a Christian fantasy novel (not my personal cup of tea), which wasn’t indicated in the official synopsis.

The Waves
A book that calms you down after a long day

I know this author no longer has a great reputation, but I can’t erase the fact that Harry Potter brought me a lot of joy in my high school years. It still brings me joy, I can’t lie about that. When I’m in a lull sometimes I go back and read where I left off in my very, very slow reread of the series. I think right now I’m somewhere in the middle of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The Bathing Suit
A book with a pretty, summer-y cover

I haven’t read this yet, but I did a spotlight for a BBNYA 2021 blog tour, hosted by The Write Reads. Beneath Cruel Fathoms has waves on its book cover, which is quintessential beach/summer in my mind. This is probably my perception, but I feel like most books with summer-y covers are contemporary fiction, which I don’t read much of. So at this point in time I don’t have many options from which to choose.

The Birds
A book that is everywhere

I choose A Court of Thorns and Roses. This is probably due to the algorithm’s knowledge of my love of fantasy books. Or, rather, fantasy romance books. But I see it pop up everywhere, particularly on Instagram since those are the hashtags and/or accounts I interact with.

The Company
A book with wonderful characters

I had a hard time choosing between The Bone Shard Daughter or The Bone Ships, but ultimately chose the former. Mephi in The Bone Shard Daughter won me over and is my favorite character in the book. He’s not the main character, but he’s pretty darn cute.

The Ice-Cold Drinks
A book you absolutely gulped down

An Enchantment of Ravens is a book I gulped down. Though it has one of my least favorite tropes (instalove), I otherwise enjoyed it. It was a nice escape from the demands of post house move.

The Fun Memories
A book you can’t wait to return to

Definitely the whole A Court of Thorns and Roses series, but also Half Sick of Shadows. I borrowed this from the library and ended up loving it so much I bought myself a used copy. There’s so much beautiful imagery and writing in this book. I can’t wait to read and savor it again.

Monthly Book Blog Wrap-Up: November 2021

Happy December, everyone! Here’s the obligatory, “I can’t believe it’s December already!” commentary. Which is how I feel every time we get to December every year. December also marks nine months since I started this little book review space. So happy nine-month blog-iversary to me! Keep reading for a recap of my November book escapades, or if you might have missed a blog post or two.

Book Reviews
I posted three reviews in November. I decided to skip posting a review the Sunday after Thanksgiving to give myself a break. From earliest to latest, I reviewed:

Book Memes
I posted five book memes in November, in addition to my monthly wrap-up post for October.

Other Book-ish Progress
I finished reading The Girl of Dorcha Wood by Kristin Ward for a Write Reads book tour in early December. My date slot is December 10, so keep an eye out for my review!

I’m still reading Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian, which I’m really loving so far. I’m savoring it, plus I’ve been busy, which is why I haven’t finished it yet.

With respect to NetGalley reads, I finished Sugar and Snow by Irene Davis. My review will go live on December 6, so again, keep an eye out for it! I’m also 40% through The Prophecy of Love by T. Satterfield and 23% through Immortal Souls by Phoenix Vieira. Naturally, I requested more reads on NetGalley, and received approvals for some, so my review percentage is still quite low. Of my recent approvals, I’m really excited to read The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper, which I’ve been eyeing for months since it hit shelves in the UK earlier this year.

ARC Review: The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart

Author: Andrea Stewart
Publisher: Orbit Books
Publish Date: November 23, 2021
Pages: 560
Format: Hardback

This review contains spoilers for The Bone Shard Daughter, the first book in this series.

Official Synopsis
In this action-packed magical fantasy epic, a heroine at the head of a powerful empire confronts a raging battle as she’s forced to do whatever it takes to restore peace.

The Emperor is Dead. Long live the Emperor.

Lin Sukai finally sits on the throne she won at so much cost, but her struggles are only just beginning. Her people don’t trust her. Her political alliances are weak. And in the north-east of the Empire, a rebel army of constructs is gathering, its leader determined to take the throne by force.

Yet an even greater threat is on the horizon, for the Alanga–the powerful magicians of legend–have returned to the Empire. They claim they come in peace, and Lin will need their help in order to defeat the rebels and restore peace.

But can she trust them?

My Review
I received a free, digital, advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. My review is my own and reflects my honest opinion about this book.

I feel fortunate that I only discovered and read The Bone Shard Daughter earlier this year. This meant that I didn’t have to wait very long to read the sequel! I was so intrigued by the magic system, not to mention Mephi captured my heart, that I couldn’t wait to read more.

Lin now knows who, or rather what, she is. She can also add murderer and usurper to the list. After Lin discovered just the start of the terrible things Shiyen did to his citizens, she deposes her father and began a new rule at the end of The Bone Shard Daughter. As Emperor, Lin rejects a reign by fear and instead yearns to prove she can justly lead the Phoenix Empire.

But first she must prove to the people she is not like her father if she hopes to continue the Sukai dynasty. Complicating this goal is the fact that Shiyen’s war constructs are now on the loose attacking the people. There are also rumors that the Alanga are back.

As I mentioned earlier, the bone shard magic system and Mephi were my favorite aspects of the first book. Bone shard magic takes a little bit of a back seat to the politics Lin plays to entreaty herself to various islands to try to gain their support. But fear not, it does play a part in the sequel, but you must be patient. For the Mephi lovers, this kleptomaniac has his share of page time. Mephi remains a mischievous critter, but I also enjoyed reading about the trust he and Jovis have in one another. I love that we learn more about what Mephi and Thrana are…I wish I could say more, but that would involve significant spoilage!

In The Bone Shard Daughter the Alanga are an ephemeral concept. They haven’t been seen for several generations, and the Sukai dynasty made sure that no one forgot the danger they posed. But suddenly there are whispers that the Alanga are back and we start to learn more about them. It’s a tough call since I love Mephi, but the Alanga plotline, and the artefacts associated with them, is probably my favorite aspect of this book. For a while I wasn’t sure where it was going and then boom, the plot twist hits you in the face.

In my review of the last book I mentioned that I wasn’t terribly invested in the Phalue and Ranami plotline. However, I warmed up to them a lot in this book. Phalue finally understands what Ranami was trying to teach her. We now get to read about them as a united front to combat corruption and their maturing trust and loyalty to each other.

For any Nisong fans out there, well, she plays an unexpectedly large part in the politics of things. I was curious about her storyline in the last book, but found myself not as invested this time around. I had a hard time understanding her reasoning for her decisions once they were revealed. Again, it’s hard to say more without giving out spoilers.

Lastly, there were a couple of aspects that surprised me. The first is the romance that develops between two key characters. There wasn’t any sort of chemistry alluded to in the last book; and I felt like the chemistry written in this book fell a bit flat. I understand why the relationship happened, but I also would’ve been happy if it hadn’t developed. (I’m happy to discuss more in the comments.)

I also felt like the writing style changed a little between the two books, but not necessarily in a bad way. The writing style in The Bone Shard Emperor seems more casual. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of The Bone Shard Daughter to compare, so I could be misremembering. I also felt like the portrayal of Jovis and Lin in this book made them seem more rash and therefore less mature. But I’m not sure if I’m imagining it, or if this is because they’re both in new roles trying to navigate their way.

Overall, I enjoyed this sequel to The Bone Shard Daughter. Personally, I liked the first book more, maybe because there was so much unknown. However, I really enjoyed learning about the Alanga and what type of animals Mephi and Thrana are. I’m also curious to see how the plot twist at the end plays out in the next book. I also like that Stewart explores, via several plotlines, the concept of the “lesser evil,” or whether the ends justify the means; how emotion can cloud judgment; and how loyalty to a party can be challenged when one witnesses for oneself that their beliefs and predictions might not hold true.

That said, I do recommend this book and I look forward to reading the next one. Until we meet again, Mephi.

Rating: 4/5
Content warnings: battle scenes, death, allusions to pet/animal abuse
Reading format: e-ARC