Monthly Archives

January 2021


Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long

Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long

Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.

While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa – the last Eangi – must find the traveller and atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour.

Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.

Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up. (publisher)

Hessa is an Eangi warrior-priestess who gets punished for disobeying a direct order to kill a lone traveller. After her village is destroyed and believing to be the last Eangi left, she vows to kill the traveller and fulfil her task. But during her quest, she learns things about the gods that threaten her lifelong beliefs and her devotion to them. Old gods are trying to get back their power from the new gods.

The story is told from Hessa’s point of view, and she was a likeable character and a loyal to her friends. It was interesting to see how Hessa goes from being a devoted follower to question everything and doubting the gods. She hadn’t travelled far from her village before and now seeing different places and customs makes her question things more. During her journey, she meets Nisien, a Souldorni horseman, who is more cynic towards the gods and their powers. They become close friends, but it was nice that they stayed just friends through the book. I hope we learn more about Estavius in the next book.

I liked how big part the gods played in peoples lives. Like you could actually talk and interact, and occasionally fight, with them. Somehow that, and their actions, made me think Xena/Hercules world and the line from Hercules intro kept playing in my head: “… a time of myth and legend, when the ancient gods were petty and cruel…” Maybe that’s just me but yeah… Everyone keeps talking about the Viking style and all I can think is Xena…

What a great debut and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from the author!


Published: Titan Books (January 19, 2021)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley


Lana’s War by Anita Abriel

Lana’s War by Anita Abriel

Paris 1943: Lana Antanova is on her way to see her husband with the thrilling news that she is pregnant. But when she arrives at the convent where he teaches music, she’s horrified to see Gestapo officers execute him for hiding a Jewish girl in the piano.

A few months later, grieving both her husband and her lost pregnancy, Lana is shocked when she’s approached to join the resistance on the French Riviera. As the daughter of a Russian countess, Lana has the perfect background to infiltrate the émigré community of Russian aristocrats who socialize with German officers, including the man who killed her husband.

Lana’s cover story makes her the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy Swiss industrialist and fellow resistance member, in whose villa in Cap Ferrat she lives. Together, they gather information on upcoming raids and help members of the Jewish community escape. Consumed by her work, she doesn’t expect to become attached to a young Jewish girl or wonder about the secrets held by the man whose house she shares. And as the Nazis’ deadly efforts intensify, her intention to protect those around her may put them all at risk instead. (publisher)

After Nazis killed her husband, Lana joins the French resistance hoping to avenge her husband and is told to get to the Riviera. There she is meant to pretend to be the mistress of Guy Pascal, a wealthy businessman.

The book was fast-paced, quick read and was lighter in tone than most WWII books. It’s set in Riviera which isn’t the epicentre of the war and Nazis, which does make it less dark than most books. There were many times that I was frustrated with Lana and her actions during the book. Especially, in the first half of the book, she didn’t seem to fully understand the whole resistance thing with the need to hold secrets and not trying to involve everyone in it somehow. There was one character that I wasn’t sure if he’s good or evil, does he help the Nazis or not.

That the book was fast-paced wasn’t always a good thing. At first, Guy criticises Lana about everything and then just suddenly is in love with her. At times it feels like we jump in time missing more interesting incidents. Like when people are rescued to Switzerland. But Lana is just fretting at home and then it’s just said that the thing went well. I mean there goes a lot of interesting stuff that could have been implored. I’m in two minds about the ending. Didn’t hate it but didn’t like it either.


Published: Atria Books (January 12, 2021)
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley



Number Of Books Read: 62
Number of Re-Reads: 0
Number of DNFs: 0

Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh
Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh
His Castilian Hawk by Anna Belfrage
Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews