May Wrap-Up and Some Overall Thoughts

May has been….busy to say the least. I started a class that has kept me very busy, but in the time that I did have, I read these six books! I started Inkheart at the very end of the month, so I do not have a rating or review for it quite yet, but the others are all found on my blog. You can click the links provided to read them if you want more information!

Uprooted- Naomi Novik
Read my review here!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The Deep-Alma Katsu
Read my review here!

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Lovely War- Julie Berry
Read my review here!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Vengeful- V.E. Schwab
Read my review here!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Assassin’s Quest- Robin Hobb
Review to come soon!

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Inkheart- Cornelia Funke
Review to come next month!

Between The World and Me- Ta-Nehisi Coates
Thoughts to come soon!

What have you been reading this month? Are you staying safe and healthy? I hope that you and your loved ones are safe. I’m about to get a little political here, but I feel it needs to be said. As crazy as the world has been, I hope that everyone knows how much their lives matter. With that being said, all lives will not matter until black lives matter. I was incredibly saddened by the murder of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor that occurred over the last month or so. If you haven’t please sign the petitions here:

Petition for George Floyd
Petition for Breonna Taylor
Petition for Tony McDade
Petition for Ahmuad Arbery

Find ways to speak up about senseless violence, racism and police brutality in your communities, and in your social networks. Don’t let this pass us by with nothing changing. This has gone on for long enough. I hope for the safety of all the protesters and activists who are on the front lines. Use your voices to make a change. If you can, there are ways that you can help monetarily, but obviously this is not something that everyone can do, but if you are able, I have included links to many different organizations and the GoFundMe for the families of three of the victims below. (I couldn’t find one for Tony McDade).

GoFundMe for George’s Family || GoFundMe for Breonna (and Legal Representation) || GoFundMe for Ahmaud || Minnesota Freedom Fund (Helps pay for bail for those who cannot afford it) || ACLU || The Bail Project

Like I said, not everyone can donate, and not everyone is in a position to protest, especially given the fact we are in the middle of a pandemic, but please know that there are many things you can do to help. I am using my platform here to talk about it. If you can do nothing else, talk about it, and vote for politicians who abhor police brutality and violence. Stand up against racism when you see it. Don’t let this be something that continues past your generation. That being said:

Have a wonderful day, stay safe and healthy,

~Cam

Book Review: Uprooted


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

* Author: Naomi Novik
* Genre: Fantasy/Fairytale
* Page Count: 435
* Date Started: April 27th
* Date Finished: May 4th


A Brief Description

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Goodreads || Amazon


“There’s no kindness in offering false hope.”

Naomi Novik

My thoughts

This book is a fairy tale that is worth reading. It tells the tale of Angieszka and a mysterious wizard called the Dragon. The Dragon takes a girl from Angieszka’s valley every 10 years, and when the girl comes back, she is nothing like she was when she left. Her ties to the valley cease to exist, and she moves away never to return.

The writing was atmospheric and the characters real and believable. I liked most of them and the stakes felt real. The world felt magical and real, almost like I could reach out and touch it. The stakes felt real, and the powers that were against them were powerful, and almost felt insurmountable. There were a lot of twists and turns in the story and it was action packed, particularly the last 100 pages or so.

There was some romance, but it was not the main focus of the story, in fact it was second to the rest of the story, and it progressed naturally! No insta-love here! The romance also made sense for the way that the tale progressed.

The one thing I’ll say is that the magic system was very loose. It was definitely a soft magic system and didn’t have hard and fast rules. I typically prefer my magic systems to be well defined and to have limits, but overall, I think this was done really well. There were some limitations and consequences, but the actual act of doing magic felt too easy? Overall, I’d say that this is a very minor pet peeve for me, and did not detract from my enjoyment of the book at all!

I would highly recommend reading this! It was a very wonderful world built around East European folklore and the characters were enjoyable.

Have you read this, or anything else by Naomi Novik? What did you think? Share your thoughts below!

~Cam

Book Review: His Majesty’s Dragon


Rating: 5 out of 5.

  • Author: Naomi Novik
  • Genre: Fantasy/ Historical
  • Page Count: 353
  • Date Started: December 23rd
  • Date Finished: December 27th
  • Spoilers? Yes-ish?

A Brief Description

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Goodreads || Amazon


A Review

The synopsis of His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik captured me almost instantly. Historic setting! The Napoleonic War! DRAGONS! What is not to love?

A sea captain, William Laurence suddenly finds himself bonded to a dragon whose name is Temeraire. His fate has suddenly changed and he finds himself in His Majesty’s aerial corps, which is very different from the Navy. From there, he is thrust into training and tactics of aerial battles.

The two have a really sweet and engaging relationship. Temeraire is truly one of the cutest and most lovable characters I have read in the last year. I want to know him just so I can give him the biggest hug. You can tell that he loves Laurence, and vice versa.

There are some characters, some who are not even supposed to be antagonists of the story that I want to strangle *(ahem, Rankin)* and others who have gone through much hardship and struggle to get where they are.

The setting definitely did not disappoint. This is set in 1800s England, and it loosely covers the events of the Napoleonic Wars, but with dragons. There isn’t really much else that you can ask for here.

To boot, this book has some major character growth, not only by our main main Laurence, but by many of the side characters. Laurence starts out the novel being categorically against the idea of being in the Aerial Corps, but as he gets to know Temeraire and the other men (and women!!) that make up the Aerial Corps, he really grows into his new post. I was really happy that the author included women who fought in the ranks as well. I find that most “history” novels seem to fit the narrative that women don’t have a place in such things, but this book strays from that. I will say that there were some scenes where our main character still holds those kinds of ideals, but I feel like this changes as the novel progresses and he sees just how powerful and kickass these girls are (Harcourt is one of my favorite characters as well.)

Furthermore, as he learns more about who and where Temeraire comes from, the plot really thickens. I’m very very intrigued to read the next one. I even went hunting for the sequel in a few of the bookstores in this very small town I am staying in for the sequel. Alas, I did not find it.

The novel is slow burn, up until the end when the pace really starts to pick up, but goodness did I love every second of it. I laughed, I cried, and then I cried some more. I would highly recommend that you read this if you like alt-history and dragons!

This book made me wish that dragons were in fact real so I could have one because goddammit, do I want a baby dragon.

Have you read this? What were your thoughts? What is your favorite book with a dragon in it?

~Cam