Review: Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik (UK edition)

Title: Empire of Ivory (Temeraire 4)
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Alternative History, Fantasy, War Novel
Publisher: Harper Voyager (3rd March 2008)

Soar on the wings of adventure

After a year of adventuring from China to the Ottoman Empire and across Europe, Laurence and Temeraire finally land upon the familiar shores of Britain.

But instead of enjoying a jubilant homecoming, they are hushed and herded to a camp far from their usual covert. Laurence soon discovers that during their time in the east, a virulent epidemic swept through the Aerial Corps, and the British have lost many of their dragons. Entire formations have succumbed to the disease, and now only the appearance of an aerial defence keeps Bonaparte from invading.

Laurence and Temeraire are ordered to prepare for another long journey; this time to save the lives of their friends and British autonomy, but to do so they must venture into the most mysterious of places: Africa.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

EMPIRE OF IVORY by Naomi Novik is the fourth book in her brilliant Temeraire series. The novel continues the story of Captain Will Laurence and his dragon Termeraire after the events of the previous book, BLACK POWDER WAR, and continues their story as they land in Britain to discover what has been happening back home. It is not good news; a virulent epidemic has swept through the Aerial Corps, and Laurence and Temeraire find themselves ordered to Africa in search of a possible cure.

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Review: Kings Rising by C. S. Pacat

King’s Rising

Title: Kings Rising (Captive Prince Trilogy, 3)
Author: C. S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Berkley (2nd February 2016)


Damianos of Akielos has returned.

His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master, Prince Laurent, as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.

On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hands in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobiliding for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.

Forced into an uneasy alliance, the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity – can it stand against the Regent’s final, deadly play for the throne?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

KINGS RISING by C. S. Pacat is the final book in her brilliant Captive Prince Trilogy. This book brings to a conclusion the stories of Prince Laurent and Damen, his slave. Damen’s real identity, that of Damianos of Akielos, has been revealed and now he has to deal with the consequences of that. Akielos and Vere stand on the brink of war, and the only chance to avoid that is for Damen and Laurent to forge an alliance. But can they trust one another? And the Regent still has some cards left up his sleeve.

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Review: Gifted Thief by Helen Harper

Gifted Thief by Helen Harper

Title: Gifted Magic (The Highland Magic Series, 1)
Author: Helen Harper
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (15th December 2015)


Since the moment I was ripped from my mother’s womb, I’ve been an outcast amongst my own kind. The Sidhe might possess magical Gifts, unbelievable wealth and unfathomable power but I don’t want a thing to do with them. I ran away from their lands in the Highlands of Scotland when I was eleven years old and I’ve never looked back. I don’t need a Clan. I’ve got my own family of highly skilled thieves who mean more to me than any Sidhe ever could.

Unfortunately for me, the playboy heir to the Moncrieffe Clan has something I desperately need. To get it back, I’m going to have to plunge myself back into that world, no matter what the consequences may be. I suppose it’s just as well I have a sense of humour. I think I’m going to need it.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

GIFTED THIEF by Helen Harper is the first book in her Highland Magic series. It tells the story of Integrity Taylor, a Sidhe who ran away from the Highlands of Scotland at eleven and made herself a home with the Clanless. A skilled thief, Integrity has been making her living with the family she made once she’d escaped. Unfortunately she cannot escape her heritage, and the playboy heir of the Moncrieffe Clan will do anything to make sure she fulfils her obligations as a member of a Clan.

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Review: Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat

Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat

Title: Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince Trilogy, 2)
Author: C. S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Berkley (7th July 2015)

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exhange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his idenity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepends, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them a final devistating blow . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

PRINCE’S GAMBIT by C. S. Pacat is the second book in her Captive Prince Trilogy. The novel continues the stories of Prince Laurent and his slave Damen. Prince Laurent has been sent from the palace to spend time protecting the border, which is a powder keg waiting to blow, by his uncle the Regent. Damen follows his master to the border, closer to his homeland, determined to keep the Prince safe and earn his freedom. The closer they get to Damen’s home, the more lethal the secret of his past becomes.

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Review: Allegiance of Honour by Nalini Singh

Allegiance of Honour by Nalini Singh (UK edition)

Title: Allegiance of Honour (A Psy-Changeling Novel, 15)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Gollancz (16th June 2016)

The Psy-Changeling world has undergone a staggering transformation and now stands at a crossroads. The Trinity Accord promises a new era of cooperation between disperate races and groups. It is a beacon of hope held together by many hands: old enemies. New allies. Wary loners.

But a century of distrust and suspicion can’t be so easily forgotten and threatens to shatter Trinity from within at any moment. As rival members vie for dominance, chaos and evil gather in the shadows and a kidnapped woman’s cry for help washes up in San Francisco, while the Consortium turns its murderous gaze towards a child who is the embodiment of change, of love, of piercing hope: a child who is both Psy . . . and changeling.

To find the lost, protect the vulnerable and save Trinity no one can stand alone. This is a time of loyalty across divisions, of bonds woven into the heart and the woul, of heroes known and unknown standing back to back and holding the line. But is an allegiance of honour even possible wiht traitors lurking in their midst?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

ALLEGIANCE OF HONOUR by Nalini Singh is the fifteenth book in her brilliant Psy-Changeling series. This book marks the start of a new series arc, and as such the story focuses on some familiar characters within the Psy-Changeling universe. During the first series arc a lot changed in the Psy-Changeling world, and the Trinity Accord holds a lot of promise for the future – that is, if it survives. Psys, Changelings and Humans need to band together if the new peace is to last, but there are factions that want the world to return to how it was before Silence fell.

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Review: Black Powder War by Naomi Novik

Black Powder War by Naomi Novik

Title: Black Powder War (Temeraire 3)
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Alternative History, Fantasy, War Novel
Publisher: Harper Voyager (6th August 2007)

Before Captain William Laurence can prepare his crew for the slow voyage home from China, new orders arrive for him and his dragon, Temeraire. They must fly home immediately, stopping only in Istanbul to collect three priceless dragon eggs, purchased from the Ottoman Empire.

But the cross-continental journey is fraught with danger; not only will they have to survive the perilous terrain but Lein, consumed by vengeance, has absconded from China. Holding Temeraire responsible for the death of her princely companion, her only desire is to destroy everything and everyone he loves.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

BLACK POWDER WAR is the third book in the magical Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. The book continues the story of the dragon Temeraire and his companion Captain Will Laurence of the Royal Aerial Corps. This book takes place not long after the events of the second book in the series. When we last left Temeraire and Laurence they were in China, this book sees them prepare to return home only to be commanded to collect three dragons eggs, purchased by the British from the Ottoman Empire, from Istanbul; a dangerous journey across the continents, a dangerous journey even without Europe on the brink of war.

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Review: City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong (UK edition)

Title: City of the Lost (Casey Duncan, 1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Detective Novel, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Sphere (14th January 2016)

Detective Casey Duncan has a dark past, and it’s about to catch up with her. When her best friend Diana is attacked by an abusive ex, the two women realise they have to disapper, fast. Diana’s heard of a hidden town that’s so remote it’s almost impossible to reach. A town that desperately needs a new detective.

Casey has barely arrived in Rockton when a body is discovered. A man’s been murdered and there’s no time to waste. Casey’s job won’t be easy: everyone in town has a secret. Meanwhile her boss, Sheriff Eric Dalton, is a troubled man who’s hard to read and even harder to please.

With no chance of help from the outside world, Casey will have to rely on her wits to solve the case. But she’s running out of time. Rockton’s killer is on the hunt, and this deep in the wilderness, no one is safe.

Rating: **** (4 stars)

CITY OF THE LOST is, I believe, the first book in a new series by the brilliant Kelley Armstrong. CITY OF THE LOST tells the story of Casey Duncan, a police detective with a past that’s about to catch up with her. Her best friend Diana, who is running from an abusive ex, hears about a town where people who want to disappear can go and live. Rockton desperately needs a detective; when Casey arrives she quickly gets pulled into a case of murders. In a town where everyone has skeletons in their closets, it is difficult to tell whom you can trust.

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Review: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart

A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart (UK edition)

Title: A Boy Made of Blocks
Author: Keith Stuart
Genre: Contemporary
Source: eARC from the publisher via NetGalley.
Publisher: Sphere (1st September 2016)

In the tradition of Nick Hornby and David Nicholls comes a warm and tender novel in which a father and his autistic son connect over the game of Minecraft.

Alex loves his family, and yet he struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. The strain has pushed his marriage to the breaking point. So Alex moves in with his merrily irresponsible best friend on the world’s most uncomfortable blow-up bed.

As Alex navigates single life, long-buried family secrets, and part-time fatherhood, his son begins playing Minecraft. Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. Together, they discover that sometimes life must fall apart before you can build a better one.

Inspired by the author’s own relationship with his autistic son, A Boy Made of Blocks is a tear-jerking, funny, and, most, of all true-to-life novel about the power of difference and one very special little boy.

(Blurb taken from

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS is Keith Stuart’s debut novel. It tells the story of Alex and his eight-year-old son Alex, who is on the autistic spectrum. Alex’s marriage to Jody has been pushed to the breaking point, and as the book starts he is moving in with his best mate Dan. As Alex works out what this break means for him his son begins playing Minecraft. The game opens up a whole new world for Sam, and presents a place where father and son have the opportunity to learn how to connect with one another. Together they learn that sometimes things must break so you can build something better.

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Bout of Books 17 | Keeping Track (My Progress)

Day 1: 22nd August

Book(s) I’m Reading: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Number of Pages Read Today: 110
Number of Pages Read Total: 110
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  n/a
Things I participated in:  I took part in today’s challenge which was to name my favourite and least favourite book to film adaptations (image below clicks through to my Instagram so you can read my answer if you wish).

Bout of Books Day 1 challenge response

Day 2: 23rd August

Book(s) I’m Reading: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, When We Collided by Emery Lord
Number of Pages Read Today: 261
Number of Pages Read Total: 371
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Things I participated in: I decided not to take part in today’s challenge, but I had a good day reading-wise so I’m happy. My review for My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry went live; an “intensely complex book […] [that] explores the grey spaces of human nature in an interesting way.”

Day 3: 24th August

Book(s) I’m Reading: When We Collided by Emery Lord
Number of Pages Read Today: 0
Number of Pages Read Total: 371
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Things I participated in: Nothing. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram then you’ll know I had a bee come into the house yesterday and kind of panicked. It took me over two hours to get rid of it, and I just couldn’t settle after so no reading got done. To be honest it was a bit of a disaster, BUT as is so often said by the lovely mods – you cannot fail at Bout of Books, only flail. So although I didn’t actually read anything I’m not bothered. There’s always tomorrow.

Day 4: 25th August

Book(s) I’m Reading:  A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart and When We Collided by Emery Lord
Number of Pages Read Today: 196
Number of Pages Read Total: 607
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Things I participated in: Today was a much better day than yesterday. I got a LOT of reading done. I also took part in the challenge which was to create a “tabloid” headline for a book I’m reading/have read for the read-a-thon (image below clicks through to my Instagram so you can read my headline if you wish and can’t easily, it’s a bit spoiler-y for The Lynburn Legacy though).

Bout of Books Day 4 challenge response

Day 5: 26th August

Book(s) I’m Reading: When We Collided by Emery Lord
Number of Pages Read Today: 81
Number of Pages Read Total: 688
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, When We Collided by Emery Lord
Things I participated in: Life got in the way again, and although I managed to get some reading in I didn’t participate in the daily challenge. Ah well. I did managed to take a photo I quite like though (photo links to my Instagram for easier reading).

Where I spent some of Day 5

Day 6: 27th August

Book(s) I’m Reading: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
Number of Pages Read Today: 262
Number of Pages Read Total: 950
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, When We Collided by Emery LordA Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
Things I participated in: I read today, but that was it… I had planned on taking part in the Twitter chat which was around 4pm my time but I didn’t end up doing so. It’s the first Twitter chat I’ve missed in a while which makes me kinda sad. Still, I had a good reading day.

Day 7: 28th August

Book(s) I’m Reading: Stolen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston
Number of Pages Read Today: 58
Number of Pages Read Total: 1008
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan, When We Collided by Emery LordA Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
Things I participated in: Nothing, I just read.

That’s it. The end of Bout of Books 17 😭. No more Bout of Books until next year, which is very sad. But there will be one final post from me where I wrap things up.