Dragonspire Book Corner: Dystopia, Pirates, Faeries, Heists and more! #BookReviews

Welcome to another book corner, showcasing books I enjoyed in September and October!

Dragonspire Book Corner Pirates Faerie Heists Dystopia

Disclaimer: The books reviewed were review copies from Hidden Gems or the author, with the exception of This is Going to Hurt. I don’t see how that’s relevant, as I only review books I like, but apparently you’re supposed to declare such things…

Heroes of Englandom by Erik Jacobs:

Heroes of Englandom cover

Rebellion and love in a dystopian society.

I really liked this! Although it was slow to start, things picked up in the second chapter and continued to escalate. The plot kept me guessing and the rebel situation, especially the sectors of the outer city, reminded me of Final Fantasy VII.

Derin is a good hero and interesting narrator, Dylan is a clever, adorable, love interest (although maybe a bit too perfect?) and the supporting characters were well developed. One of the villains was incredibly creepy, and the regime is gruesome and controlling.

If you like characters you can connect with, a similar controlling society to The Hunger Games, and M/M romance, you’ll like this.

4 stars
4 Stars.

Although Heroes of Englandom is the 1st in a series, it stands alone well. I’m interested to see what happens next, but I’m not quite at the 5 star fan girl stage yet. Maybe after book 2!

The Phantom Heist by J.D.L. Rosell:

The Phantom Heist Cover

Thievery, spinning, and of course, peacocks!

A novella with a fun POV character and an interesting premise. The world building was intricate and well developed in such a short book, and spinning was especially interesting: It was a form of magic unlike any I’ve seen before.

The characters were well described and unique, but I enjoyed the main character the most. He was funny, witty, and realistic: I love a character with flaws. I struggled with the description in places, and there are adult themes, but I enjoyed it overall.

4 stars
4 Stars.

Even though this novella is part of a larger series it stands alone well!

Princess of Death by Cortney Pearson:

Princess of Death cover

Pirates, kingdoms and castles, plus a gorgeous cover.

After enjoying The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, when the option to review Princess of Death landed in my inbox how could I resist?

From the first chapter I was hooked. The author does a great job of bringing the setting and characters to life, and even though the middle was slow in places I enjoyed it overall. The world building was interesting, and I loved the contrast between the two kingdoms.

The main character was likeable, the supporting characters were interesting, and I especially liked the sea witch! The only character I’m on the fence about is Bae. Part of me liked his bad boy attitude, the other, far more insistent, part thinks Cali should steer well clear. I’m interested (but also partly dreading) to see what happens to him and Cali in book 2!

4 stars
4 Stars.

I didn’t enjoy Princess of Death as much as Lady’s Guide, and there were less pirates than I expected, but it was still an entertaining read 🙂

Once… Tales, Myths and Legends of Faerie by Ronel Janse van Vuuren:

Once cover

I’ve read and enjoyed many of Ronel’s tales from faerie. Magic at Midnight is my favourite, but Once… is very enchanting. A compilation of stories of various lengths, it’s full of tales of faerie, with some unique twists on well known fairy-tales.

My favourite is The Fae of Brenen, Tony the dog’s journey through a mystical forest, but Will-o’-the-Wisp and the Dark of the Moon, a twisted version of Rapunzel, The Ashiest Princess, an intriguing take on Cinderella, and Princess of Echoes, were close seconds. There’s something for everyone, and plenty of magic to go around!

4 stars
4 Stars.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay:

this is going to hurt adam kay

Recommended by the wonderful Caz at Invisibly Me, This is Going to Hurt is an honest, eye opening account of a doctor working in UK hospitals. It’s based on the diaries Adam kept during training, often humorous, with an underlying serious message, and shows the harsh reality of working in the NHS.

If you’re interested in a behind the scenes look at hospitals you’ll love this. If you’re considering having kids, maybe give it a miss: Adam Kay worked in gynaecology, on the labour wards, and he has some horror stories to tell!

If more politicians read this, they may treat NHS staff better. If more aspiring doctors read it, we may have a staffing crisis: With up to 90 hour work weeks, during training staff are often paid less than minimum wage. I don’t feel like I can rate non-fiction, but it really made me think!

scales divider copy

Thanks for reading!

The more I read, the harder it is to rate books out of 5. I think half stars will be needed in future!

Have you read any of the above books? Read anything similar, and equally awesome, recently? Let me know in the comments!

Next week? Hopefully a short story, but I’m back at university tomorrow so I’ll see if I get time!

18 comments

  1. Is it the law to have a disclaimer at the beginning? I always thought it was just a courtesy. I did put a similar kind of courtesy once when I was posting a review for an ARC I received. I do think that having such a law is…I dunno, probably a law that is unnecessary? I mean, I do think that people should put out a full disclaimer, but should the government be involved in mandating such things? Sorry for rambling. I’ll stop now about that. It’s probably a discussion for a different time. Sorry.

    Heroes of Englandom sounds awesome! I liked the Hunger Games movies. And Heroes sounds intense. I love stories about fights against oppression. 🙂 Love your review.

    Phantom Heist sounds cool too. I too love characters with flaws. Makes them relatable. 🙂 And yeah it depends on the theme, but I’m a bit iffy on some adult themes. But it sounds like a book I can enjoy 🙂

    Princess of Death – the cover looks cool. And the story sounds neat too. Is it medieval fantasy? And I’m not a fan of bad boy characters lol. They remind me of bullies and toxic guys. Do you think I would hate Bae then? lol.

    Ooh, I don’t usually care much about retellings, but Once sounds neat. 🙂

    This is Going to Hurt is a book that I’d definitely be interested in reading. I am interested in health policy. It’s not my main area of study, but it’s something I care deeply about, especially given efforts to erode progress in healthcare here in the states (as well as efforts to move towards a Medicare for All system here). I’ve heard about NHS too – especially more recently in the news. I definitely want to read more about NHS (esp since I am interested in international affairs too). 90 hour work weeks? Wow. But that reminds me too about medical staff in the U.S. I heard some work 16 hour days.

    Thank you for your book reviews. 🙂

    And like you, I only write reviews of books I like. I do this b/c it feels better and personal preferences, I guess. I mean, I’d be heartbroken if one day I get published and got a 2 star review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not sure, but in the end I added a disclaimer in case!

      I actually disliked Hunger Games (unpopular opinion I know!) because I couldn’t relate to Katniss. Englandom however had better characters 🙂

      Princess of Death is medieval with magic. I think you’d dislike Bae as I found him a bit of a manipulator, but the story was good 🙂

      This is Going to Hurt was one of the best books I’ve read this year, it was an eye opener, and even though it covered serious topics, Adam Kay left medicine to become a comedian, so it’s funny too! Is Medicare for All a similar system to the NHS?

      Same, I hate to give lower than 3 stars unless I feel really strongly about something. Even then, I’d probably only rate it on Goodreads and not explain it in detail. I also never review books I don’t finish as I don’t think it’s fair. The thing about getting 2 star or lower reviews is, if our books become popular we’ll definitely get them. I don’t see it as a reflection on us, it’s more to do with reading preferences. Our books aren’t for everyone after all, just as we wouldn’t like every book written either 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a good idea 🙂 Transparency is good. It’s a good disclaimer 🙂

        Haha no worries. We all feel different ways about novels, stories, and life in general 🙂 Englandom sounds awesome.

        I’m not a huge fan of medieval stories, but I’m always willing to try new stories out – esp after seeing cool reviews like yours. 🙂 Hehe what did you like about Bae’s bad boy attitude?

        Oh wow, that’s cool. Quite a career shift. Does he do a lot of dark comedy (Adam Kay)? Medicare is a government insurance program (where the govt provides insurance for those over 65; people can still buy private insurance to help supplement Medicare though if they wish). Medicare for All – if it is passed in the U.S. – would either mean everyone being able to buy Medicare (a proposal by the more moderate candidates) or all private insurance companies being replaced by Medicare (proposal by the more liberal candidates). I’m simplifying (maybe oversimplifying here), but I hope this is helpful. NHS is different, right? I heard that, w/NHS, the govt owns the hospitals and healthcare is a service provided by govt. Is that understanding correct?

        Good point. 🙂 Yeah, I rarely give anything below three 🙂 Like you, I only give it less than 3 stars if it is something I feel strongly about and probably won’t give reasons, just rate on Goodreads lol. That’s so true. Everyone thinks differently about stories, etc. And it’s just a part of life. We just need to accept it and move on (or try to learn from the review if it is constructive.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I adore medieval stories 😀 I thought Bae was charming at first but disliked him more as the book continued. Not sure if that was the author’s intention, and I was pleased with the ending!

          Adam Kay wrote a satirical song about the London Underground (pretty sweary, but kinda funny).
          Yeah the NHS is less insurance and more everyone pays tax/national insurance and we get free health care (except dental and eye checkups, which we have to pay a small fee for). Government still owns hospitals at the moment but there’s always a fear of privatisation. It’s good because if you need anything at all, MRI scans etc, it’s free, and medication is heavily subsidised (about £10 per prescription).

          Like

          • Awesome! Your review and comment got me more interested in medieval stories. Is Bae the type of character that seems charismatic at first but then is revealed as awful later on? Sounds like it to me but I want to check to make sure my understanding is correct.

            NHS sounds great. Do you like it overall? Yeah I have heard worries about privatization esp after there have been concerns about American companies getting involved. I personally hope it will not be privatized.

            Interesting point about medication prices. 🙂 I wonder if that is why I only had to pay 2 pounds or so for some medicine I bought in London. I had a sore throat and was exhausted, so I bought the medication at the pharmacy in a grocery store (during my 10 day visit in London). The medicine was affordable and I was better within 10 hours. It was super effective. I wish medication was that cheap here in the U.S. Some of the costs are ridiculous.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yeah that pretty much describes Bae, although the MC seems to realise it!

              The NHS is great. Sometimes the wait times are long, but I’ve had three MRI scans in my lifetime and I dread to think what they would have cost anywhere else.

              Cold medicine, painkillers etc are very cheap and available in most supermarkets 🙂 It’s amazing. Our supermarket has a pharmacy too, to dispense over the counter medication. I had trouble finding paracetamol in America, so I had to make do with aspirin: four times the cost of it in the UK. I wish it was cheaper in the U.S for you too 😦

              Like

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