Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

I did the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!


SBPT | Week 3 | A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman | Guest Review

For this week’s SBPT post, Katie & Ashley from Lost In Pages and I did guest reviews on each other’s blogs. You can check out my review of The Poppy War by RF Kuang over on their blog!


Publication Date: 30 September 2013
Publisher: Del Ray Books
Format: Print
Page Count: 438 (entire anthology)
ASIN: 0345452739


Alluding to both the Sherlock Holmes canon and the Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos, this Hugo Award-winning short story will delight fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H. P. Lovecraft, and of course, Neil Gaiman.
A Study in Emerald draws listeners in through carefully revealed details as a consulting detective and his narrator friend solve the mystery of a murdered German noble. But with its subtle allusions and surprise ending, this mystery hints that the real fun in solving this case lies in imagining all the details that Gaiman doesn’t reveal, and challenges listeners to be detectives themselves.




I want to start by saying that I know nothing when it comes to Lovecraft. I’m aware that there’s a green, octopus-looking creature called the “Cthulhu” that lives in the ocean, and that’s literally the extent of my knowledge. I’ve always been intrigued by his stories, but I’ve never read any of them.

Sherlock Holmes, on the other hand, I know quite a lot about. Without having read any of the actual books, I know a good deal because of adaptations I’ve seen — Benedict Cumberbatch and the BBC adaptation will always be my favorite!

So with a minimum amount of background knowledge, I went into this graphic novel hoping for the best because it’s Neil Gaiman, and Neil Gaiman can do no wrong. I didn’t know that the plot line was going to follow A Study in Scarlet so accurately, so that was a nice surprise. For some, I can see why that would be a negative, but for me, I liked the fact that I knew the base story because sometimes the Lovecraft references were over my head. I’m sure there are a bunch that I’ve missed or didn’t recognize. That being said, I did like the Lovecraftian influences. They made the story unique!

To avoid spoilers, I won’t say much about the ending minus the fact that it threw me for a curveball, for sure. It makes a lot of sense after the fact, but I definitely enjoyed that twist of sorts. Another thing I enjoyed was the art style, it matched the writing style very well. I hope this graphic novel will become a series because I’d love to see more in this interesting world.

-Katie & Ashley from Lost in Pages



Song by Jesse Teller | TBRindr


Publication Date: 5 October 2017
Format: eBook
Pages: N/A

Summary: Some of the darkest minds in Perilisc attacked Mending Keep, releasing all its prisoners. Despite his strained relationship with the crown, Rayph Ivoryfist calls old friends to his aid in a subversive attempt to protect King Nardoc and thwart terrorist plots to ruin the Festival of Blossoms. But someone else is targeting Rayph, and even his fellow Manhunters might not be enough to save him.


I received this book from the author through Esmerelda Weatherwax’s TBRindr in exchange for an honest review.


Going into Song, the several reviews I’d read promised a pulpy, grimdark novel that somehow also managed to be campy. Unfortunately, while I could see where the author was trying to go, that combination simply did not mesh for me.
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Summer Blogging Promo Tour | Week 1 | Introduction

Hi everyone!

This summer, I’ll be participating in the Summer Blogging Promo Tour hosted by The Book Bratz. My friend encouraged me to sign up for this tour to meet new people in the book blogging community. This tour was created to bring together book bloggers during the summer to collab on fun posts throughout the summer. For the next nine weeks, I’ll be working with my partners, Katie and Ashley from Lost in Pages, to bring fun bookish-themed posts every Sunday. Be sure to check out their blog and look out for future posts!

Hotsuka’s Story by JF Mehentee


Publication Date: 1 November 2018
 P in C Publishing
Format: eBook
Pages: N/A
ISBN: 9781912402007

Summary: “I had three visitors during that awful time of helplessness: the first was my enemy, the second a goddess with child and, finally, my only friend, a Djinni.”

No longer a celestial, Hotsuka must quickly adapt to life as a human if he’s to save his newborn son. Things go from bad to worse when he learns that he’s at the centre of a cosmic plan to change the universe forever. Not everyone, however, wants change…

Hotsuka’s Story is the first of six novellas in the epic fantasy Dragon Pearl series. Set in a world that borrows from Asian and Middle Eastern mythologies, and where gods and humans exist alongside one another, each novella describes the events that culminate in the Takeo Sura Pearl novels: Tamuda Rising and The Four-Day War.


I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an open and honest review 


Hotsuka’s Story follows Hostuka, a celestial being who’s been forced to wander Earth as a human after certain events that displeased his superiors.  Hotsuka starts off pretty arrogant, with little consideration for human emotions, as expected for an immortal godlike being who observes the universe for fun. After Hostuka is turned into a human, we watch his slow journey as he learns humility and to understand why humans do what they do. This story is very character driven and while the pacing is pretty quick, the plot is rather slow. Large portions of the book felt very slice-of-life-y, and while that isn’t a bad thing, it just wasn’t something I was in the mood for when I read it.

This book’s strengths are really in the world building and Hotsuka’s character development. The world is based influenced by Asian culture and Asian mythology, and I thought it was done very well. Being Chinese myself, I felt like I could really identify with the settings and the characters. I also really enjoyed the depth the author goes into Hotsuka’s character development. We see him go from uncaring celestial who’s merely using humans to suit his own curiosity, to temporarily playing surrogate dad to three orphaned boys.

Overall, I give this book a 3/5. While I enjoyed the character development and the worldbuilding, I really could have used some more plot. The true consequences don’t get revealed til the very end, and while I understand this is a collection of 6 novellas, it made this book feel like a protracted prologue.

/r/Fantasy Bingo Squares

  • Novel Featuring a Non-Western Setting
  • Novel with Fewer than 2500 Goodreads Ratings
  • Novel Featuring a God as a Character

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French


Publication Date: 21 June 2018
Format: Paperback, ARC
Pages: 421
ISBN: 0356511642

Summary:  Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs.

Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs.

When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious.



This is another book that simply did not live up to the hype for me. The worldbuilding was fantastic and the plot was interesting, but the gratuitous sexism and character interaction simply did not work for me.
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