Monthly Wrap Up – August 2023

Is August really over already? Wasn’t it just Easter? Seriously, where has this year gone?

Well then, what did August bring my way? Well, unfortunately I got a stomach infection that I am just about recovered from. Sadly, though I was home for a few days, I couldn’t focus to read. I was too light headed and nauseous. I don’t recommend it.

I did manage to read 2 books this month though.

I finished The Oasis and The Horus Road, which completed the Lord of the Two Lands trilogy by Pauline Gedge. Both were enjoyable though a bit slow in places.

Currently, I’m reading Sorcery Rising by Jude Fisher, the first book in the Fool’s Gold trilogy. I’m around half way through and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it yet.

After that, I plan to read the two sequels to complete the trilogy, Wild Magic and The Rose of the World.

Depending on how my health cooperates, that may be all for September, but if I do get through these more quickly, I’ll decide then, what to read.

What was August like for reading for you? How many books did you read?

The Horus Road by Pauline Gedge – Book REview

The Horus Road, book 3 of the Lords of the Two Lands by Pauline Gedge

Title: The Horus Road

Author: Pauline Gedge

Series: The Lords of the Two Lands

Sexual Content: Minimal

Objectional Content: Incest, Infant death

Target Audience: Adults

Synopsis: The Horus Road is the riveting conclusion of Pauline Gedge’s three-volume epic, the Lords of the Two Lands, which chronicles the courageous and often tragic struggle of the Tao Princes to free their country from the foreign rule of the Setiu king Apepa.

Ahmose vows to continue the struggle that has taken the life of his father and brother. It is up to him to devise a strategy to capture the Setiu capital, Het-Uart, in order to free Egypt once and for all. But the devious Apepa will stop at nothing, no matter how ruthless, to rob the Tao family of its chance for total victory. Military might alone will not be enough for Ahmose to breach the city’s walls. He will need a miracle from Amun.

My Review

I always try to be as honest as possible in my reviews so I’m just going to admit from the start that I considered not finishing this book multiple times. My mind was constantly wandering while reading and there were whole paragraphs, maybe even pages, that my brain didn’t absorb at all. The reason I didn’t give up on it was because I still wanted to know how it would all end.

The Horus Road is engaging in spurts, but for the most part, I found it to be quite tedious. This trilogy is more about the characters than it is about the plot to retake Egypt.

I had certain expectations going into the book, as it is the third in a trilogy. My expectations were met but not in any way I might have predicted. That is one thing about these books that I really enjoyed. I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen next.

Sadly, the ending didn’t really do it for me. It felt like it was all building up to a victorious moment but when that moment came, it fell flat. It just wasn’t climactic.

I did really enjoy the writing style. It is clear that Pauline Gedge has done her research on ancient Egypt and knows how to incorporate that knowledge into her writing and characters. The characters themselves were relatable and interesting. They showed proper development throughout, though I never knew when someone was going to die.

Overall, my rating for the Horus Road is 3 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who has read the first two books.

Thanks for reading!

Top Five Urban Fantasy Series

Urban Fantasy is something I’ve only gotten into in recent years. Previously, I was kind of a fantasy snob.

Anyway, here are the top five Urban Fantasy series that I have read (so far)

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews is by far one of the best series I have read. Kate is a kick ass character who doesn’t take shit from anyone, even if it get her in trouble.

The series features all the fun stuff you’d expect from an urban fantasy, including shapeshifters, vampires and magic users. The vampires aren’t like in some others series though. No sexy vamps here.

Probably one of the more well known urban fantasy series, the Dresden Files features Harry Dresden, wizard and private investigator. This series is fast paced and darkly comedic. You’ve got all the typical players like vampires, werewolves, witches and fae. Each book is an adventure and you never know what is going to happen next.

I think the Mercy Thompson series was what really got me into Urban Fantasy. Mercy is a coyote shifter who was raised among werewolves. She isn’t exactly kick ass like Kate Daniels but she can hold her own and will go toe to toe with the Alpha of the local pack. Mercy goes through a lot in her life and there’s still more to come!

To date, the Kitty Norville series is by far the best werewolf series I’ve read. Kitty was turned into a werewolf against her will and has to learn to adapt to her new life. I found her growth as a character to be amazing. She starts out as a rather timid person, at the bottom of her pack and rises up out of her shell and become Alpha of her own pack. Her journey is fun and exciting. The series is finished as far as I know, which is a little too bad but I think that Carrie Vaughn did an amazing job of wrapping up such a long series.

I’m slightly iffy about including the Cal Leandros series as one of my Top Five, but only because the author had some controversy on the internet some years back and she is no longer being published.

That being said, Rob Thurman is a really good writer. I’ve read just about everything she has published and loved it all.

Cal is half human half…something else. Along with his older brother Niko, the two act as a kind of supernatural bounty hunters.

Cal is a smart ass and sarcastic. He is one of my favorite characters and it makes me sad that the series wasn’t finished. If you do choose to read this series, avoid the last book, Nevermore, as it ends on a cliffhanger and the next book, Everwar, was never published.

So, what do you think of my top five urban fantasy series? Do you agree with my picks? Are there ones that you add or replace. Remember, this is only my top five out of what I have read so far. This list could easily change in the future.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

The Oasis by Pauline Gedge – Book Review

The Oasis, book 2 of the Lords of the Two Lands trilogy by Pauline Gedge

Title: The Oasis

Author: Pauline Gedge

Series: The Lord of the Two Lands

Sexual Content: None

Objectional Content: Incest

Target Audience: Adults

Synopsis: Using subtle means of political power and economic control, a foreign power known as the “Rulers of the Upland” has taken over Egypt to plunder its riches and eradicate its religion and culture. In “The Hippopotamus Marsh”, the stunning first volume of Pauline Gedge’s Lords of the Two Lands trilogy, the family of the last true King of Egypt chose to end 200 years of submission to King Apepa, and attempted to resurrect a dynasty, Seqenenra Tao began a courageous and tragic revolt that almost led to the destruction of his family. In this thrilling second volume, Seqenenra’s surviving son Kamose refuses an inheritance of failure, and chooses instead to continue his father’s fight for the freedom of Egypt and his family. He begins his desperate sweep north, collecting fighting men from the loyal towns and villages he passes. Will his savage brilliance bring him victory or defeat? And will his acts redeem him or drive him to the brink of madness?

My Review

The Oasis picks up where The Hippopotamus Marsh left off. Kamose begins his campaign to retake Egypt from the Setiu.

For a novel all about a war, The Oasis isn’t really that exciting. The focus is less on the war that is happening and more the mental and emotional impact it has on Kamose. This novel feels much like a character study and an in depth look at the toll being the leader of an army can have. The guilt of the things he has done weighs heavily on him. While at the same time he knows it is the only way to recapture Egypt and restore his family to their rightful place on the throne.

I never knew what to expect from this book. If I had any expectations, I don’t know what they were. I find that something amazing about Pauline Gedge’s books. I truly don’t know what to expect and I can’t predict how anything will go. Her writing is amazing. I love how well she describes the world without having to go into great detail. You can practically feel the hot Egyptian sun beating down on you.

The Oasis is a bit slow at points but in the last 100 pages it really picks up and I’m pumped for the next book!

My rating for The Oasis is 4 out of 5 stars and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Egyptian fiction. Just read the Hippopotamus Marsh first.

The Executioner of Yrecep Forest – ARC Book Review

The Executioner of Yrecep Forest by Laura DiNovis Berry

Title: The Executioner of Yrecep Forest

Author: Laura DiNovis Berry

Genre: YA Dark Fantasy

Sexual Content: None

Objectional Content: Violence

Synopsis: Pesdari grew up in the Coven, a place of murder, ancient magic, and sacrifice. When an opportunity arises to escape she must make a choice — betray her only friend for a chance at freedom or face the threat of becoming a sacrifice to the gods?

My thanks to the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Review

How should I begin this?

I stated in a previous review that I’m not a fan of the third person omnipotent point of view, which The Executioner of Yrecep Forest was written in. Unfortunately, this was quite a bother for me as the pov would swift suddenly and I would get confused as to why I was getting the thoughts of a donkey.

What did I like about this book? Well, I liked Pesdari as a character. She has a goal and she’s willing to do some pretty harsh stuff to achieve it. In spite of herself, she cares for others who need her help, even if she doesn’t really want to. I love the fact that there was absolutely no sexual content and there wasn’t even a romantic interest. After some of the books I’ve read lately, that was a breath of fresh air.

The magic system was interesting. I like that it was elemental magic and that each element had a corresponding god, and that those gods actually spoke to their worshippers. I did find it odd that killing someone and offering them as a sacrifice was a way of getting a major “power up” though. This needed to be fleshed out more as I could see some major consequences to such a thing. Consequences begin to show but I got the feeling that the Coven had been around for a long time and that a crazed power hungry person should have gone on a murderous rampage long ago to get all the power they could.

There was a lot I felt could have been fleshed out. This book is quite short and I felt like there was no real world building at all. Other than the forest and the villages near it, we know nothing at all about this world, not even what it’s called. There wasn’t a lot of character development and more time could have been spent on certain events that might have given them more impact.

I had to remind myself that this is a YA book and if I look at it through that lens then I think it’s the kind of book my teenage self would have loved. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this book, I just wanted more from it.

My rating for The Executioner of Yrecep Forest is 3 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to those who enjoy YA dark fantasy and a quick, fun read.

Thanks for reading.