Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt Review

Hey beautifuls, I am back with a brand new review, and today it is all centered around the beauty that is Northern Wrath. This book was sent to me by the publisher -Rebellion Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. I would like to stress that I requested this book, the publisher did not approach me for this one! I saw this arc, saw that stunning cover, read the synopsis and immediately knew it was a ‘Steff’ book. Anyway…on to the review!

  • Title: Northern Wrath
  • Author: Thilde Kold Holdt
  • Publisher: Rebellion Publishing
  • Paperback: 644 pages
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • My Rating: 4.5*

Synopsis – Taken from Amazon

A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods. A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim. A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.

The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.

Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.

My Review

Northern Wrath is an epic tale steeped in authentic Norse mythology. Filled with epic battles, strong characters, and set backs at every turn we follow different characters who are all tied together by fate. Their lives, the lives of the Gods and the whole of Midgard hang in the balance.

When I say I am Norse mythology mad…I mean it! I have read so many books on the history of the folk tales, so many books adapted from the myths – I just love it, and this book blew me away. It gave me all the bloodshed and glory worthy of Valhalla, all the strong characters overcoming their setbacks and dealing with their flaws. It gave me warrior vibes strong enough to make me wish I could wield a damn axe. It was everything I wanted.

This story explores the threat of Muspelhiem (one of the nine realms filled with fire). The threat of Muspelhiem’s demons breaking free and wrecking havoc on Midgard, and ultimately bringing around Ragnorok. If you love the Norse Pantheon then you will love this book, there really is no two ways about it. We have gritty flawed characters and strong females, we have betrayals and deceit that will leave you reeling. More than the epic battles and bravery, this book made me laugh. There were moments of banter and comradery that was just so authentic, you could tell Thilde was drawing upon her own friendships.

I always love seeing strong female characters in books, and Northern Wrath delivered this in abundance; from our unexperienced Tyra who refused to let fear rule her from the very first moment, to Hilda who raged and fought despite all that was taken from her, and all that she had to do.

This book keeps you guessing, this book keeps you engaged and I highly recommend this epic tale to those of you who love fantasy and Norse mythology rolled into a gritty and perilous journey.

There you have it lovelies, my review for Northern Wrath by Thilde Kold Holdt. I tried to keep it as spoiler free as possible, because 1. it doesn’t release until the end of October and 2. because this is a journey that you need to experience for yourself. Go in knowing little to nothing and you will feel the full benefit of this story. I really hope you decide to add this to your tbr because this author deserves so much love for this book, and I cannot wait for book two. If this sounds like it’s right up your street please leave a comment and let me know. If you are one of the lucky ones like myself to have received this beautiful arc then please let me know if you’ve read it yet, and what your thoughts were. As always, thanks for reading this review.

How To Read Michael J Sullivan

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! I haven’t done a post in a bit, and those I have been uploading are mostly just reviews, but today along with my booktube upload I wanted to take the time to explain how to read my absolute favourite author Michael J Sullivan.

If you follow me on social media, especially Instagram, then you will know that I only discovered Michael’s books this year, and since discovering them have managed to read all of his current series.

I love this world, love these characters, and just want to spread the love, so if you are interested in any of these amazing books here is where I recommend you start.

Firstly, Theft of Swords, Rise of Empire and Heir of Novron are a part of The Riyria Revelations series, which is actually six books in a 3 book bind-up. They follow the story of Royce and Hadrian who are two notorious thieves who complete the supposedly ‘impossible’ missions no one else is capable of. One day they are approached and asked to take on the job of retrieving a sword, but when they embark on this mission they end up being framed with the murder of the king.

These books are set in the ‘here and now’ of the world.

Secondly, we have The Riyria Chronicles, which is made up of The Crown Tower, The Rose and the Thorn, The Death of Dulgath, and The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter. Again we follow Royce and Hadrian, but this time we are set in the past. This is Royce and Hadrian before they became the dynamic duo they are in The Riyria Revelations and follows the beginning of their partnership and how they came to be. I should point out that each novel within this series does not necessarily follow on from the last, meaning you could technically read them as individual novels.

Lastly, we have The Legends of the First Empire series, which currently consists of Age of Myth, Age of Swords, Age of War and Age of Legend, but as of next year Age of Death and Age of Empyre will be added to this series. This series is set 1000 years before the events of The Riyria Revelations and therefore is completely separate. We, of course, no longer follow Royce and Hadrian but are given a full cast of characters to get behind. At the beginning we are introduced to a land severely divided. The Fhrey and Rhunes are two races who are seperated by a river. Rhunes are our human types, and Fhrey are our Elven types. The Fhrey are revered as Gods by the Rhunes because some are able to use magic, but one day Raithe (a rhune) and his father cross the river in hopes to build themselves a better life. They are stopped by some Fhrey on patrol who demand they surrender their weapons and leave. When Raithe’s father refuses he is killed, and Raithe then in turn kills the Fhrey. From then on he is said to be ‘The God Killer’ and as rumour spreads of his victory against the ‘Gods’ both Rhunes and Fhrey accept the idea of war, and so begins the journey.

As I stated above, there is currently four of these books but a further two are being released in 2020. Age of Death and Age of Empyre pictured below.

All of these books are beautiful and epic and I cannot recommend them enough, but where should you start?

In my personal opinion you should read them in the order I have listed above…yes that is technically time reverse order but trust me okay? You could technically read them in time order but I honestly don’t recommend you do that for two reasons;

  • One, because you will miss out on a lot. There is so many moments in The Legends of the First Empire series that meant so much more to me because of the events in The Riyria Revelations and Chronicles. And because I went into it with that prior information was able to recognise it for what it is.
  • Second, because that is the order Michael J Sullivan recommends you read them.

Of course you can disregard both mine and Michael’s opinion and start at The Legends of the First Empire, you could move onto The Riyria Chronicles or Revelations afterward, it is entirely up to you. You could start at the Chronicles, and move to the Revelations then to The Legends of the First Empire. Again, this is entirely your choice, but as someone who has read them all, I recommend the way I listed them above. You will appreciate them much more that way, and of course…they were written that way too. This may be relevant to some of you if you are like me and like to see the progression of an authors craft.

Whatever way you do choose to read them, I am just happy that people are picking up his books and hopefully you will love them as much as I do.

If you have read any of these books or are planning to read any of these books let me know in the comments below, I always love hearing what you all have to say! And of course I would be super hyped to chat with more Michael fans!

Daughter of Kali: Awakening by Shiulie Ghosh Review!

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! So sorry I haven’t been around lately, but today I’ll be sharing my views on this arc I read recently. Buckle up booknerds

  • Title: Daughter of Kali: Awakening
  • Author: Shiulie Ghosh
  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Peach Publishing (1 Jun. 2018)
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • ISBN-10: 1780363710
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780363714
  • My Rating: 3*

SynopsisFrom Amazon

We all have our demons. Kaz Deva aches to fit in and be normal. But with the unnerving ability to see things that others can’t, ‘normal’ is not an option. After a shocking confrontation with evil, Kaz is drawn into a dangerous world of myth and magic. An ancient Guild of Warriors fights to keep demons at bay, her mother is harbouring a dark secret, and a Hindu goddess is haunting her dreams. Everything she thought she knew is a lie, except her feelings for a boy she can never have. As Kaz learns the truth of who she is and where she comes from, something awakens inside her; something cold and ruthless. With the battle between Warriors and demons becoming ever more deadly, Kaz must find a way to survive her destiny and control her supernatural powers before it’s too late.

My ReviewSPOILER WARNING!!

Firstly let me say this was an arc from netgalley, but I picked up this book because I was really interested to see how hinduism played a part in the story. In my opinion it’s not something we see often in YA.

You will have noticed that I only gave this a 3* and here’s why:

Whilst I was over the moon about the diverse rep of the main character her strange character behaviours were too much for me to overlook. Firstly we get the immediate angle of ‘mother and daughter don’t get on’ – to the point that the daughter is outright rude A LOT, but we have no real indication of why that is. Oh but she does like to mock her mothers indian food, and her mother’s love for the Gods etc, which I found odd considering I was excited to see some hindu rep!

There wasn’t a whole lot of reasons behind the strange resentment Kaz had for her mother…at least in the start anyway, and it bothered me that she was outright mocking her mothers way of life, and at one point even claimed the incense and statues of the Gods had embarassed her!

Another thing that annoyed me was the forbidden love trope. Whilst I confess to enjoying a forbidden love story when done well, I just couldn’t get on board. If you have read this you may be thinking “Why Steff? Because it makes her a terrible best friend to like the guy?” No, my darling readers, that is not my issue. My issue lies in the fact that Kaz, and her best friend are 15. The Love interest is 18, and someone who was brought up as trained warrior…

Let’s just think about that for a second. Now whilst in the UK the legal sex age is 16, I still don’t find it appealing to read about an 18 year old guy lusting after a 15 year old…it’s weird, and quite frankly I just can’t! As for him being trained as a warrior from a young age, I just can’t see how that would at all fit in well with two girls who are in high school. Am I insane, or are they just leaps and bounds apart.

It gave me shadowhunter vibes a little, with the whole ‘demon hunters’ thing and a whole guild of people who govern them and their training.

Another thing that I didn’t particularly like, yes another, was that Kaz (aged 15) was a normal kids then her mum SPOILER got kidnapped by a demon and all of a sudden she is commanding all the people in one of the safe house/ bases for the demon hunters. Like what….ACTUALLY WHAT!!! ARRGGHHH! How on earth can you expect me to believe, a 15 year old with no experience, in comand/ management and who has only just found out demons are real can suddenly flip a switch and start commanding other who are many years her senior and have been doing this basically their whole lives…uh uh! No sorry you lost me!

Whilst this has become a rant, I do think that the way the demons where portrayed was different, and I was intrigued by the whole Kali twist in there, so that was fun, but I’m afraid overall I can’t say it left me feeling like I has just read a great book…the more I think about it the more it annoys me.

So that’s it, my rant…I mean review for Daughter of Kali: Awakening! Please let me know in the comments below if you have read this, it would be super interesting to know what other peoples opinions are on it.

So…I did a thing!

Hey beautiful booklovers! How have you all been? I’m getting my reading groove on this week and I’m hoping to smash my tbr this month…I mean we’ll see, but that’s the plan!

Anyway, todayis going to be a quick one. I’m posting a bit of news…I’ve joined booktube!! I can’t believe I took the leap, but I am now making videos of my bookish antics and posting it…because doesnt that sound fun? Lol!

I’ve just posted my booktube newbie tag on there and if any of you lovely people are interested I’ll link it below 😘!

You can watch my video here if you are interested.

I just wanted you all to know that I’m now over there too if you are interested at all. Other than that, I’ll have another review coming to you by the end of this week hopefully so stay tuned for that!

A Pack of Vows and Tears by Olivia Wildenstein arc Review

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! I am so excited to tell you all about this beautiful arc I received. This is the second book in The Boulder Wolves triology, and I had the privilege to get the arc of the first on netgalley a while back.

The second (and the book I am reviewing today) I recieved from the lovely Olivia Wildestien herself. Please note that although I recieved this arc for free all my opinions are, as always, my own, and I have not been paid at all for this review.

A Pack of Vows and Tears (The Boulder Wolves Book 2) by [Wildenstein, Olivia]
You can find your copy here!
  • Title: A Pack of Vows and Tears
  • Author: Olivia Wildestien
  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Twig Publishing (28 May 2019)
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy/ PNR
  • ISBN-10:  1948463172
  • ISBN-13:  978-1948463171
  • My Rating: 4*

SynopsisFrom Amazon

She thought the fight was over but it was only just beginning.

Ness Clark’s place amongst the Boulders and at Liam’s side is compromised. First, when her cousin claims Ness helped him elude his death sentence. And then, when August Watt, Ness’s childhood friend, comes home to Boulder.

Although August’s plan was to pledge himself and return to active duty, he finds himself incapable of leaving. This becomes problematic for Liam and Ness, because a mating link has clicked into place between Ness and the ex-marine. If not consumed, the link will fade, but that’ll take months. How long and hard can two people fight a physical attraction that renders their bodies unreceptive to anyone’s but their mates?

Ness is tired of fighting, tired of having to prove herself worthy of her pack’s trust and of her Alpha’s affection. But when an enemy pack arrives and threatens the Boulders, she has two choices: step aside and let the wolves who have pushed her away fend for themselves, or step up and help them fight the newcomers.

Ness has never stepped aside…not for anyone.

Why would she start now?

My Review

As this book is a sequel I kind of knew what to expect. Not in terms of plot of course but in terms of setting and characters etc. I had my fave characters, I had characters I was less keen on. That being said, Olivia Wildenstien has this ability to take me on a wild ride, and turn my emotions completely on their head!

There were twists I didn’t see coming, a few actually, and I read this book in record time. I’m a sucker for the romance in this story and can’t tell you how much I’m rooting for the ship. The annoying thing is how quickly Olivia can make you change your mind about someone you thought you liked! I went into this book thinking I liked a character, and it turns out I really don’t after reading this.

What I really appreciate about these books is that Ness, our main character, is strong, independent, and has known much heartache and personal tragedy. It’s one of the reasons we root for her so much in these books. She is strong yet vulnerable, and whilst she always bounces back we get to see the strife she endures.

It’s hard to review this book because all I want to do is scream about the spoilers. I just want to chat until the cows come home about what happened and how I feel! I really enjoy these books. They always get devoured within hours, and quite honestly I find it cruel I have to wait for the next one…not fair at all.

Immediately after reading this I messaged Olivia and told her about my angst and she just laughed, saying she had done her job.

These books are definitely worth a read if you like romance shifter stories. I should add that I normally never read shifter stories but for this series I make an exception.

If you are interested I suggest taking a look at book one – A Pack of Blood and Lies:

Find it Here!

Synopsis

The primal rule of winning: don’t fall in love with the contender. 

Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Ness is forced to return to Colorado. Even though it’s been six years, and the wolves of her all-male pack don’t recognize her, she recognizes them. People who shun others because of their gender are hard to forget.

Especially Liam Kolane–son of Heath, the crudest and cruelest Alpha to have ruled the Boulder Pack. Liam is as handsome as he is infuriating, as kind as he is punishing, and he makes Ness’s traitorous heart race, which isn’t good. After all, he’s a Kolane. Like father like son, right?

When Heath dies, Liam vies to become the new Alpha and no one dares challenge him. 

Except Ness. 

Thus begins a treacherous game. 

The rules: winner takes all…including loser’s life.

Have you read any of these books? If yes…we should chat! If not, then you really should give it a go if it sounds like your cup of tea. Let me know in the comments below!

June TBR

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! Today I’ll be sharing with you my June TBR, or my intended tbr anyway! Lately I’ve been mood reading and it’s a pain in my ass, but hey what can you do?

Here is my intended reads of June…don’t hold me to them!

1 – Legend by David Gemmell

I’m really in the mood for adult fantasy at the moment and so am hoping to dive into this beauty this month! Plus…I love me an axe!

2 – The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan

Dragons – need I expand? I think it’s pretty obvious why this in here lol.

3 – Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

I read book one last year and have been saying I need to continue on, so I think it’s about time I did!!

4 – Eve of Man by Tom Fletcher and Giovanna Fletcher

Eve of Man (Eve of Man Trilogy)

Another book that has been sat on my shelf for way too long! I’m really excited by the concept, and can’t wait to see what I think of it.

5 – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I’ve heard great things about this book and so have bumped it up on the tbr!

Have you read any of the above books? What does your tbr for June look like? Leave me a link so I can check it out, and as always let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

May Wrap Up!

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! I’m finally getting my shit together and getting back to posting on here. I have had so much going on and this platform has suffered for it, I apologise, but for now at least I have some time to organise myself and my posts for the coming weeks. Fingers crossed all goes to plan!

Anyway, today is my May Wrap Up and I am very disappointed with how little I read but like I said…I had a lot going on, and what I did read was actually very good which is a bonus!

Let’s get to it!

1 – Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

My Rating: 4*

This is book 2 in the Temeraire series, and by now all who have visited my insta or blog before will know I am dragon mad! I really enjoyed continuing on with this story, and will definitely continue with the series

2 – Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations) by Michael J Sullivan

My Rating: 5*

Short of it is that I LOVED this book! I have found a new author to fangirl over and I now have 6 of his books! I will be doing a review of this trilogy soon because I need to tell you all how awesome this is, and how much I think you should read it too!

3 – Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations) By Michael J Sullivan

My Rating: 5*

Same as the above, I loved it…hence the reason I devoured the series in such short succession!

4 – Heir of Novron (The Riyria Revelations) By Michael J Sullivan

My Rating : 5*

These are not small books by any means but I read all three in under a week because I just couldn’t put them down at all!

So there you have it…my small wrap up for the month of May. I know previously my wrap ups have been a lot bigger but as I said…reading was a little non-existent this month. I did read books that I am truly happy I managed to read though, so I am not as disheartened as I would have been if I only managed 2* reads.

What did you read in the month of May? Have you read any of the above? Let me know in the comments below!

Reading Update #11

Okay so it’s been well over a week since I last updated you all. This isn’t for lack of wanting to update you all…it’s due to an unfortunate lack of reading [insert crying book steff here]!! It’s been tough to get in any reading other than uni work which is a little soul destroying to say the least.

Books I have read

Since my wrap up…none!! Literally none!!! I’ve literally got no books in my may reads list right now! It’s heartbreaking lol.

Currently reading

I’ve gotten 20% of the way through The Gems of Eslana, and I picked up mythago wood but haven’t continued with it yet 😭😭! So…obviously I’m feeling hella sorry for myself!

Books I plan to read next

Any…throw my a bone here! I need to read something other than uni related reading otherwise I’m going to loose the plot lol.

What books have you read in the last week? What book are you currently enjoying? Or perhaps you can comment letting me know you are having a tough reading time to make me feel better? No? Just me…okay.


Beta Readers??

Today I really wanted to chat to you all about being a Beta Reader. It is something I started a few years ago and it’s really been a lovely experience for me. I’m always keen to encourage others who are interested to try it out as it is most helpful to aspiring authors.

So, what is a beta reader?

Simply put, a Beta reader is an unpaid reader who has the opportunity to read through the unpublished and even unpolished manuscript of a writer/ aspiring author in order to give constructive feedback.

Beta readers are often brought on towards the final stages of the writing process, although that doesn’t always have to be the case. In most cases, when a writer has written, rewritten, and then edited the shit out of their book, they go in search of those willing to read it, and give their opinions. Beta readers act as a practice audience and give the writer an idea of how their book will be received. They may tell the writer that something didn’t add up on a particular scene or chapter, or that they didn’t feel connected to a particular character etc. This then means that the writer can go back in and make changes if needed.

It’s important to note that not all writers may take the beta readers opinions and advice into consideration and this may be because out of (let’s say) 15 beta readers only two disliked a certain scene. This tells the writer the majority understood the intent and were happy in general with that scene. You have to go with the majority in these cases.

The process

Normally it works like this…

  • Writer seeks beta readers
  • Beta readers apply
  • Writer picks a set amount
  • Writer and beta reader agree on method of communication (Facebook messenger or email etc,)
  • Writer sends over first 3 chapters
  • Beta reader reads chapters then lets writer know they have finished
  • Writer will ask set questions to guide the beta readers feedback (what were your overall thoughts? What are you predictions? How do you feel about character X? These are all commonly used qustions.)
  • If writer and beta are in agreement to continue then the next 3 chapters will be sent over
  • Repeat

How to become a beta reader?

Interested in helping writers make their books better, and working with them in their creative journey? There are plenty of opportunities to get involved. By simply googling the term beta reader things will come up, but personally I found that joining closed groups on Facebook and by interacting with people on Twitter I was able to get involved. I’ve met some awesome writers this way, and had the privilege to read their work.

Requirements?

As a rule there are no specific “requirements” as such, but some writers may ask for specifics on occasion. For example, they may wish to gather a group of 18 to 24 year olds to ensure they are getting feedback from their target audience. They may look for someone who is of a specific ethnic group or cultural background to ensure that the writer has represented that group well in their novel (this is sometimes referred to as a sensitivity reader).

Other writers may wish to have a beta reader who also writes themselves, or they may request that only readers apply. Really it all depends on the writer who is seeking beta readers. They will usually use a google form for beta readers to apply, or may even just put up a post describing their book, how long it is, and for anyone who is interested to leave a comment or dm them etc. It is all very straight forward if you are looking in the right places.

My experience

I’ve been very lucky in my experience as a beta reader, and have interacted with many amazing people because of it. There is truly something amazing about getting involved in this process and being able to read someone’s work before an agent/ publisher does. It is even better when you can work with one writer more than once, and see them take your comments on board.

It’s always important to be honest, even in your dislikes, because at the end of the day the writer is trying to straighten out kinks in the story. Be mindful when giving feedback, if you didn’t like a scene/ plot twist / character etc, try to explain why; be constructive with your comments. Always remember that this is the writers “baby” and it may be hard for them to hear your negative thoughts…so, please be respectful.

Well, there it is. I hope that some of you found this interesting, and maybe even motivated to try out beta reading for yourself.

Have you been a beta reader before? Are you interested or not? Let me know in the comments below!

My Rating System!

Hey Beautiful Booklovers! Today I thought I would let you all know how I rate my books as I know this can be such an individual thing, and for a lot of people they don’t really rely on a system they just go with a feeling…which I totally get because I have done exactly that before.

More accurately this post is so that you can share your methods too, or perhaps let me know what your thoughts are on mine – if you have any critiques and improvements etc.

So, lets get to it!

One star1* – Obviously, I hate giving this rating because inevitably it means I didn’t enjoy the story. Normally I give a 1* if I really didn’t connect with the characters and didn’t appreciate the plot! I may also give this rating if the writing is so poor it causes great distraction from the story line. I may also give this rating to books I end up DNFing, but generally speaking I tend to not rate those books at all.

Two star2* – I give this rating to books which I have managed to read but have found them very lacking. Normally it’s either lack of tension, lack of significant character intentions or goals, and generally speaking where I find that I could have been entirely happy to skip the book. These are books I, as a rule, do not recommend to others.

Three star3* – These are what I consider my “meh” reads. They’re okay, sometimes I even enjoy them quite a bit, but they don’t have enough to make me feel like I loved them. They are often reads I enjoyed, and can see others enjoying (so I do still recommend some). Essentially it comes down to a certain lack of wow factor for me. Good, but not wow.

Four star4* – Books I loved. I know you may be thinking “hey wait up aren’t 5* reviews for books you loved?” Yeah, they are but I still love a lot of my 4* reads, and quite honestly I can love a book and not consider it a 5* read. These books will normally be ones I loved but feel they don’t quite reach that 5* rating for some reason or another.

Five star5* – Reserved for my wow reads. The ones I rave about. The ones that give me book hangovers. The ones that I can’t stop talking/ fangirlling over! These are the books that I will revisit, and just can’t get enough of.

Do you have specific system you use for rating? Do you just wing it on a feeling? Or are you fa more structured than me? Let me know in the comments below! I’m truly curious to see what method you all use!