Book Review | Rivers Ran Red

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Rivers Ran Red: The Last of the Romans Trilogy by J. A. Grierson

Published November 1, 2019

Ebook 328 pages

4.5/5 stars

I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an open and honest review

Can J. A. Grierson write all the History books from now on please?

The Story

An extremely well written and well researched historical fiction based on the events surrounding the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains and the Roman’s defeat of Attila the Hun.

(Goodreads synopsis):

“In a whirlwind of fire and carnage, Attila the Hun wheels half a million horsemen towards Roman territory. In his path, corruption and greed have undermined the ancient empire and the vacillating emperor, Valentinian III, has cut her legions to a sliver. But out of this smoke a wily, battle-scarred general, Avitus, rises in her defence. Making allies of his enemies, Avitus rallies barbarian warlords to fight for the Eagle and crosses the Alps to face Rome’s nemesis. But when Attila offers to split the Empire’s corpse with the Goths his march becomes a suicide mission.

One war will decide the fate of civilization.

The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains rages through the night. Individual acts of bravery and cowardice tip the final balance. Rivers run red and burst their banks with blood. Dawn draws a portrait of unimaginable carnage.

In a tale of epic deeds, heroes confront insurmountable odds, with honour and courage. Avitus faces a myriad of enemies, both Roman and barbarian but can one man save civilisation?

What I liked

Wow!

Just, wow. I could NOT put this book down. I am by all accounts a fantasy reader only. Sometimes when I am in a reading slump, I will pick up other genres … but typically it’s all fantasy, all the time. This reads like an epic fantasy. Extremely enjoyable, extremely bloody and entirely real. I was connected to all of the characters, their lives, their history and their events. I cried when they died, I cheered when they were victorious. This book did more than just chronicle the history of these individuals … this book immersed me in the world of military power, political intrigue, love and life and death. This book is everything books should be.

The historical accounts were well researched and didn’t feel like History class … and the fictional elements were believable and complimentary to the history of that day and the characters who would have existed.

What I Did Not Like

The beginning of this book was plagued by pretty purple prose … but this daunting adjective stuffing fell out of Greirson’s writing around the second chapter (once the dialog started) and the book became much more enjoyable to read.

In Conclusion 

I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good Roman history, and for fans of fantasy with epic battle scenes and political intrigue.

 

Book Review | Dark Skies

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Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

Published May 5, 2020

4.5/5 stars

I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an open and honest review

Another gorgeously written and beautifully told story by Danielle L. Jensen in this fantastical world. This book finds its voice through Lydia (who we met briefly in Dark Shores) and Killian (who you will not regret meeting in this book <3). If you enjoyed Dark Shores, you will adore the continuation of this story from this varying POV.

(Goodreads synopsis):

“A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

What I liked

Speaking of POV, I really enjoyed how Jensen chose to tell this story. Instead of cramming all POVs into one novel, she chose to alternate between the novels themselves. I mentioned her being a “smart” writer in my review of Dark Shores, and I feel this is further evidence to that statement. I was allowed to immerse myself into a singular storyline for the length of each novel. And Storyline it is! Wow! So much action and angst and all the romance-y drama you could possibly want! Not to even mention how masterful Jensen is at spinning a twisty tale of intrigue. Once again, I had no idea what to expect, and poor Danielle had to endure me messaging her on IG to scream about the turns I did NOT SEE COMING!

Jensen has officially secured me as a fan … I will be pre-ordering the next book in this series, Gilded Serpent as soon as it is available (scheduled to release March 23, 2021). I even went out and purchased the first two books in her The Bridge Kingdom series because I cannot get enough of her writing, worlds, romance and political intrigue!

What I Did Not Like

This book was not my favorite of the two books so far … which is not to say that it wasn’t still and incredibly enjoyable adventure. This book had a bit of a lag in the middle that the first book didn’t have, and I just found myself connecting to it a little less. However, this is still an incredible read and I cannot wait for the rest of the series!

In Conclusion 

This series is fast paced and enjoyable. I would recommend it to everyone.

 

Book Review | The Screaming Staircase

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan StroudThe Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

4.5/5 stars

Ok so … I LOVED it
Also, my inner child has a new book boyfriend

The Story

Perhaps better titled “The world”, because I am going to avoid telling you anything about the actual story. Some things are better left to your own discovery and I feel like this book is one of those instances.

Lucy can hear things … not the things you and I can hear (for we – at least most of us – are much too old). No. Lucy Carlyle can hear paranormal activity. Ghosts and apparitions and the things that go bump in the night.

It has been over 50 years since the beginning of “the problem”, that is, the arrival of a devastating ghost epidemic that is terrorizing the city of London. Dangerous things lurk in the night, and the ones who can stop these hauntings … the agents … or Psychic Investigation Agencies. Typically, such agencies are managed by adults (though adults lack the gifts needed to fight “the problem”) while the agents consist of talented children with certain abilities. However, Lockwood & Co. is different in every way. Lockwood & Co. is owned and operated solely by children and is the smallest – and perhaps not what one might call the most prestigious – agency in London … and the talented Lucy Carlyle is about to find herself a member of this crew of three.

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