November is here, so it’s time to put a bow around our October reading & wrap it up! (I know, that was kind of a lame pun).
October had been sort of chill, considering I didn’t have a job anymore, but at the same time, it meant I was busy looking for a job. And clients. And working on this blog. And working on my books.
And reading. 📚
It’s what this blog is about, after all. Anyway, I did manage to get a few clients & get a new job. So woopwoop! 🎉 I actually started this week, and it’s quite nice.
Though, I have to say that even though I had more time to read, I—well, I didn’t. Read more that is. Now, I do kinda feel sorta bad about it (is readers’ guilt a thing?), but then again… reading is supposed to be fun, right? It’s what I said in my post with tips to read more, after all (gotta admit that transition worked).
I did manage to read 4 books though, one of which was for an external review (which is not online yet…).
So, which books did I read & review for you this month? These are The Last Wish, Echoes of the Storm & Blood & Honey. Read on for my mini-reviews of these fantasy & sci-fi books I read in October and decide what to read next. 🤓
You can jump straight to:
- The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski: Adult Action-Epic Fantasy, Short stories
- Echoes of the Storm by Charlene Newcomb: Adult Action Sci-Fi Romance, LGBTQ
- Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin: NA Action Fantasy Romance, Witches
- External review: Timewise by Robert Leat, Contemporary Coming-of-Age Sci-Fi with time-travel elements
- Other blog posts I read in October
Mini Book Reviews October 2020
The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
Genre: Adult Action-Epic Fantasy, Short stories
The first book of The Witcher series. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect since I watched the show on Netflix (which I loved), but I heard the book is quite different. But I absolutely loved it as well ❤️ I actually think the Last Wish makes more sense than the Netflix show because all the stories are told from Geralt’s perspective. No confusing timy-wimy, different protagonist business here.
So, The Last Wish is a collection of short stories featuring no other than Geralt of Rivia: the Witcher. As most of us will know by now, Witchers exist to destroy the monsters that plague the world. They’re chosen by destiny and put through some pretty gruesome trials (that aren’t really explained in the book either) and mutations, which many children don’t survive. But when they do, they become spectacular assassins.
It is the creed of the witcher to only accept coin and kill the monsters. They shouldn’t intervene in the lives of humans. But Geralt finds that not all monsters look like one. And not all who look like monsters are one.
The stories really dive into the moral dilemmas Geralt faces. He always wants to do what’s right, not choosing the ‘lesser evil’ or ‘greater evil.’ But sometimes fate has other plans. The book’s stories are all different, but there’s one story that acts as a ‘red thread,’ tying them all together. This story is called ‘The Voice of Reason,’ where Geralt is resting at the temple of Melitele. The things that happen in this story, or people who are mentioned, ‘trigger’ the other short stories. I thought it was quite an elegant solution, and it made the whole book feel more tied together than just a loose collection.
I loved all the details in the stories and learning more about the witcher’s world with each short story. The monsters are all amazing and detailed, and the characters all have their own personality. Even the minor characters. It was great writing, in my opinion. I also particularly enjoyed the hints of other fairytales in the short stories. For instance, there is one short story that has similarities with ‘Beauty and the Beast.’
Looking forward to read more of Geralt’s adventures!
I rate this book 5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Echoes of the Storm by Charlene Newcomb
Genre: Adult Action Romance, Sci-Fi, LGBTQ
This was the book I read for the Diverse Protagonist challenge, and I received it as a free copy from Netgalley (in exchange for an honest review). And it was definitely a great pick. It featured betrayal, romance, cool space-ship fights, and blast-gun fighting. It all had a very ‘Star Wars-like’ feel to it, but instead of twin-romance, we get gay-romance (which naturally a lot better). And boy, did I ship Jack and Ben hard in this book. ❤️
In Echoes of the Storm, we meet Jack Gamble, who was betrayed by his lover Norse. They were both in the resistance, fighting against the Galilei Empire and its oppressive regime. But Norse appeared to be a double-agent and betrayed them, leading them into a trap.
Needless to say, things go horribly wrong, and the resistance has taken a major hit. Things worsen when a ship of mercenaries under the command of Captain Ben Stone intercepts his ship and crew. Not to mention that Norse has broadcast Jack’s face over the entire galaxy. Can Jack trust Ben? Can he turn them to their side? Can the resistance rise again?
The story was very fast-paced, with some good twists and turns along the way. We don’t just get the story from Jack’s perspective, but it also occasionally turns to Ben, Tic (another spy for the resistance), Commander Berg (who works for Galilei), and even Norse. It does give the reader a bird-eyed view of the situation and the war, and it helps in understanding what kind of person Norse is, but I always prefer a more select cast of characters. Or a clearer division, such as per chapter. But that’s a nitpicky personal preference.
I will say that all the characters felt like they had their own personality, and the style of thinking and talking changed accordingly, which is always a pretty impressive feat.
So, if you love a good star wars-like story, with epic space-battles and taking down the empire, along with some steamy romance—this is the book for you!
I rate this book 4 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
Genre: NA Action Fantasy Romance, Witches
I was actually dreading to start this book, to be honest. I absolutely loved Serpent & Dove, and I’ve heard mixed reviews about Blood & Honey. And I do get it. But I didn’t feel the same way.
FYI, like with Serpent & Dove, I listened to the audiobook version of Blood & Honey. I think this might make a difference since the characters’ internal battles might be clearer when it’s read with a certain intonation and emotion. Not to mention the narrators of the book are both great (Holter Graham and Saskia Maarleveld).
Most people were pretty annoyed with Reid for his continuing denial and resistance to magic and witches. And I get why they thought it was annoying. But to me, it made his character more realistic. You have to remember: he was brought up hating magic, witches, and all other non-human creatures. And people don’t change their opinions and ingrained beliefs that easily. Besides, Reid was barely the only character in denial (yes, I’m looking at you, Lou).
Sure, Reid loves Lou, so he has learned that not all witches are evil. But at the same time, he’s seen most magic being used for evil. He’s also seen the cost and the pieces Lou sacrifices from herself to perform the magic. So, I don’t think it’s that easy to just accept magic as the neutral thing it is and just to let go of all your prejudices. It’s not that easy. Just look at our own world—how easy do you find it to let go of your prejudices?
Anyway, that was my defense of Reid. The story itself continues right after Serpent and Dove, where Lou, Reid, Coco, Ansel, and Madame LaBelle are in hiding and desperate need of allies. Strong allies. Unfortunately, it means splitting up, while Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse.
While Lou and Reid are still deeply in love, a lot of shit has happened, and they tend to argue and fight quite a lot. There’s definitely an important lesson here that we should communicate with our spouses and not assume their feelings and thoughts. That never goes well. Seriously.
There are some new additions to the characters’ cast, and I loved them quite a bit (Claude is especially awesome). The story itself felt a bit slower than the previous one, I think, because most of it involves them searching for their allies. But by the end, the pace definitely picked up, and I had a hard time stopping until I reached the end. And naturally, the ending gutted me deeply, but it was also a little bit of an anti-climax. I just wanted… more.
So, definitely read this when you’ve read Serpent & Dove (otherwise, read Serpent & Dove. Just do.), but be prepared that Reid may come across as a bit… whiny. Otherwise, the story and the writing are again exceptional.
I rate this book 5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
External review: Timewise by Robert Leet
Genre: Contemporary Coming-of-Age Sci-Fi, Timetravel
Publisher: Porter Field Publishing LLC
The review hasn’t been put online yet, so I can’t really say much about it yet. I will update this when the review is available!
Other Blog Posts
New On this Blog
🍁 Do you know already what to buy for your book-loving friends? Or need some inspiration for your own wishlist? Then check out the Holiday Gift Guide for Readers Who Love Fantasy & Sci-Fi.
🍁 What’s gonna be new in November? Check out the 21 Best New Fantasy & Sci-Fi Book Releases of November 2020
🍁 Want to read Urban Fantasy, but not sure where to start? Here’s the Ultimate Urban Fantasy List.
🍁 We all want to read more in less time. But how to go about it? And how to keep yourself motivated? Reading should be fun, after all. Read these 9 tips for getting more reading done (and feel less guilty if it fails).
🍁 If you’re in the mood for a self-published Adult Sci-Fi about man’s first mission to Mars, then read this full review of Red Dust & Raindrops: Death on Mars.
🍁 Love your coming-of-age Fantasy/Sci-Fi novels? But want an adult version instead of the typical YA? Then The Indivisible and the Void is the perfect pick for you!
🍁 There’s also a new challenge up for November. This one is all about numbers (aka, you pick one with a number in the title). So check out some great picks!
Book Recommendations, Reviews & Bookish stuff on other blogs
🍁 Over at Shut Up Shealea, she made a great list of book recommendations with Filipino diaspora authors. Worth checking out if you want to read more diversely.
🍁 Speaking of diverse reading: Anca at summoning fantasy created a list with 16 black authors and their books. A lot of them seem really good & are definitely on my wish list (like Children of Blood & Bone, or the Fires of Vengeance).
🍁 Do you love Disney movies? (I do! A lot!) Check out this list with book recommendations over at loveyoshelf based on Disney movies.
🍁 Probably one of the most popular ‘genres’ is YA. Which is why you will probably love this list with underrated contemporary YA books (not fantasy)
🍁 Who doesn’t love a good retelling? Pick any of these 50(!) retellings of classic books.
🍁 In the mood for some Fantasy Romance? Then you should be in good hands with this list containing 30 great books.
🍁 If my tips for reading more aren’t cutting it for you, you can check out this page over at Tea and Ink Society, where 12 book bloggers share their reading tips with you.
That’s it for October 2020!
The October 2020 reading wrap-up is done. I hope you enjoyed my mini book reviews and any other recommendations and blog posts I linked here. I hope you’re now one step closer to choosing your reads for November!
What am I going to read next? Good question. I’m for sure going to read In Lost Dreams the Four Were Bound, and also potentially Refuge. And I have been wanting to start Godsgrave and check out some of my books by David Edding. So lots to choose, lots to read.
By the by, I’d love to know what you read in October & what book was your favorite. So just shoot me a message in the comments!
If you liked this, you might also like…
- My reading wrap-up for September
- What I read in August, with mini-reviews
- All the full book reviews alphabetically
- Overview of the Indie Reading Challenge
This post is also added to the November book blogger link-up, hosted by the awesome Eline from LovelyAudiobooks.