Book Review Holiday Reads

Mini Reviews of Recent Reads – Part II

As promised, here is part two of my mini reviews of books I read during my blogging break.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff


Conquer your fear, conquer the world

Mia Corvere, destroyer of empires, has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry do not believe she has earned it.

Her position is precarious, and she’s still no closer to exacting revenge for the brutal death of her family. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it is announced that Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself into slavery for a chance to fulfill the promise she made on the day she lost everything.

Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold, secrets are revealed and the body count rises within the collegium walls, Mia will be forced to choose between her loyalties and her revenge.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how Kristoff could possibly manage to follow up the story of Mia Corvere that began in Nevernight (and which you do need to read first), but he’s managed it.

Godsgrave is as brilliant and bloody (possibly bloodier?!) than the first instalment, and takes some unexpected turns.  Some questions are answered, and others are posed.  I cannot wait for the third instalment, Darkdawn, which is released in September.  Honestly, you just need to read this series.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

One Way by S. J. Morden

one way

There’s a murderer amongst them, and everyone’s a suspect… 

Frank Kittridge is serving life for murdering his son’s drug dealer, so when he’s offered a deal by Xenosystems Operations – the corporation that owns the prison – he takes it.

He’s been selected to help build the first permanent base on Mars. Unfortunately, his crewmates are just as guilty of their crimes as he is.

As the convicts set to work on the frozen wastes of Mars, the accidents multiply.

Until Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all…

One Way is the love child of Andy Weir’s The Martian and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.  Sound odd?  Trust me, it works.

In order to cut costs, a small group of convicts is selected and trained to build the first, small base on Mars.  Each has a skill that will contribute to the scheme, but they are all convicted felons, and this makes the group dynamics extremely interesting as they need to work together, but with little trust between them.  And when things start to go wrong, it doesn’t take long for them to start blaming each other…

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Origin by Dan Brown


Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever”. The evening’s host is his friend and former student, Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old tech magnate whose dazzling inventions and audacious predictions have made him a controversial figure around the world. This evening is to be no exception: he claims he will reveal an astonishing scientific breakthrough to challenge the fundamentals of human existence.

But Langdon and several hundred other guests are left reeling when the meticulously orchestrated evening is blown apart before Kirsch’s precious discovery can be revealed. With his life under threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape, along with the museum’s director, Ambra Vidal. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

In order to evade a tormented enemy who is one step ahead of them at every turn, Langdon and Vidal must navigate labyrinthine passageways of hidden history and ancient religion. On a trail marked only by enigmatic symbols and elusive modern art, Langdon and Vidal uncover the clues that will bring them face-to-face with a world-shaking truth that has remained buried – until now.

Harvard professor Robert Langdon on the run with a beautiful woman?  Surely not 😉

I enjoy this series.  Five books in, and Brown still keeps them interesting and different, and I love the opportunity to explore a different city in each novel.  I did feel that Origin didn’t have quite the same focus on symbology and puzzles as the previous novels, which is an element that I’ve particularly enjoyed in the series, but this was still an entertaining ride, even if I did have my suspicions as to the culprit relatively early on.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

the history of bees

In the spirit of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, this dazzling and ambitious literary debut follows three generations of beekeepers from the past, present, and future, weaving a spellbinding story of their relationship to the bees – and to their children and one another – against the backdrop of an urgent, global crisis.

England, 1851. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive—one that will give both him and his children honour and fame.

United States, 2007. George is a beekeeper and fights an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation.

China, 2098. Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident—and is kept in the dark about his whereabouts and condition—she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him.

Haunting, illuminating, and deftly written, The History of Bees joins these three very different narratives into one gripping and thought provoking story that is just as much about the powerful relationships between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.

I absolutely loved The History of Bees, a novel I purchased when it was released late last year.  Alternating between the three narratives, Lunde gave each character a unique voice, and I loved seeing each story progress, and discovering the links (other than the obvious) between them.

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


    1. It’s so good – one of those that I started and knew immediately that I was in for a good read!

  1. Love your mini reviews Jo! You’ve made me very excited for The History Of Bees which I got for my birthday and now I’m totally intrigued about Nevernight which I wasn’t sold on before! 👍🏻

    1. Thank you! The History of Bees was so much more than I expected, and Nevernight is excellent! 😊

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