Tag Archives: author: j. tullos hennig

2016 in Review: #2 & #1

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Another year come and gone–and some fantastic reading adventures along with it! As I typically do in January, I want to take some time to review some of my favorite reads of 2016. In week five of this series, we move up to the final two books on my top ten.

Note: These are the best books I read in 2016, not necessarily published in 2016.

#2 Winterwode by J. Tullos Hennig

Winterwode

When I learned that J. Tullos Hennig was planning an additional three books in The Wode series, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement. This series combines so many elements I love: fantasy, history, well-written retelling, m/m relationships, overcoming challenges, a few drops of angst, etc. This is the third book in the series and the first of the aforementioned three additional books.

In this installment, things continue to escalate with increasing stakes for Robyn and company. The powers-that-be aren’t willing to go down without a fight. And Gamelyn still finds himself torn between the life he thinks he wants and the loyalty he feels toward the knights. But they can all unite against the corruption that is sitting on the throne, as it threatens not only their way of life but their actual lives and the lives of those around them…

Read my review from August 9 for more on this title.

#1 City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Blades

My top two reads for the year have a few things in common: fantasy, series, conflict, strong characters–just to name a few. This is a series that caught me off guard. When I read City of Stairs (which pulled a five-star rating from me in 2014), I had expected some run-of-the-mill fantasy story that’s just like all the other ones that the presses seem to be pumping out at an ever-increasing rate. But the story pulled me in faster than I could have expected and the characters kept me right on through to the end.

Honestly, I feel like City of Blades is even better than its predecessor. The characters here are developed, complex, and well-written. The story is provides the reader with excellent backstory/world building, complex conflict, and a compelling narrative. And Turyin–well, we need more characters like her.

Read my review from January 26 for more on this title.

Winterwode by J. Tullos Hennig

Winterwode

Winterwode by J. Tullos Hennig

Series: The Wode, Book 3
Published by: DSP Publications on October 6, 2015
Rating: 5 stars (★★★★★)

Robyn’s band is all back together. His sister, Marion, is back at his side. And he’s recovered the lost love of his youth, Gamelyn. Except Gamelyn isn’t just Gamelyn anymore. Guy of Gisborne, Templar, still resides in there somewhere. It’s an identity that can’t easily be shed. But Robyn is patient, and Gamelyn sometimes seems willing to try.

When a traveling minstrel informs the Shire Wode outlaws that the Queen Mother is essentially being held prisoner by Prince John, their relatively happy reverie is broken. Despite being branded outlaws, they’re too noble to let that stand. Of course, it helps that it’s an opportunity to stick it to the tyrannical prince.

There are a few problems, though. Not only do they need to sneak in and break out the Queen Mother. They will need to take her to Temple Hirst, thrusting Gamelyn/Guy right back into the Templar order. And to complicate matters even more, someone with knowledge of the Wode’s magic is on their trail. And he may just be a force to be reckoned with.

Can they pull off the rescue? And if Gamelyn rejoins his fellow knights, will he fall back into the life of Guy? Will Robyn lose him forever? And what would that mean for the Lady’s prophecy?

I’m such a fan of this series, and I’m so glad there are some additional books coming. It’s such a well-written retelling of the Robin Hood story. This history, the imagery, and the fantasy combine to create such a rich, dynamic world. And I’ve honestly devoured every page since I started the first book in the series.

There are some wonderful twists and turns in this book that certainly serve to keep readers on the edge of their seats. And the tension that exists throughout creates an incredible thread to pull you along. Writing of this caliber is a rare find.

2015 in Review: #2 & #1

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With another year drawn to a close, I wanted to take some time this month to go back and highlight some of the best books that I read in 2015. I didn’t read quite as many this year as I did last year (287 vs. 306), but I attribute that to taking on proofreading (which is a slower read for a book) and starting a certificate program during the final quarter of the year. Still, I’m happy with the total. But enough about that…onto the books I wanted to take a moment to revisit…

Note: These are the best books I read in 2015, not necessarily published in 2015.

#2 Greenwode (The Wode, Book 1) by J. Tullos Hennig

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Perhaps the absolute best retelling of the Robin Hood story in existence! Not going to post much more here, as this is one where I tried to keep spoilers to a minimum. This simply just has to be experienced (I also may have gifted a copy or two for Christmas to people I thought might enjoy it).

Read my review from May 28 for more on this title.

#1 A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, Book 1) by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for Irene

In a world of parallel universes, there is one constant: London. Though every world is very different, they all have a city named London in the same place and it serves as the loose thread that holds them all together. And the thread is loose because there are only a few who can travel between them. Kell is one such Traveler, and has become the ambassador (and an adoptee) of the royalty of Red London to carry correspondence back and forth with Grey London and White London. But on his visits, Kell engages in a hobby of smuggling artifacts back and forth, despite the objections and warnings of his adopted brother. But neither of them know the true extent of the trouble Kell might wade into without even thinking…

Read my review from April 27 for more on this title.

2015 in Review: #4 & #3

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With another year drawn to a close, I wanted to take some time this month to go back and highlight some of the best books that I read in 2015. I didn’t read quite as many this year as I did last year (287 vs. 306), but I attribute that to taking on proofreading (which is a slower read for a book) and starting a certificate program during the final quarter of the year. Still, I’m happy with the total. But enough about that…onto the books I wanted to take a moment to revisit…

Note: These are the best books I read in 2015, not necessarily published in 2015.

#4 Prickly Business (Portland Pack Chronicles, Book 1) by Piper Vaughn & Keznie Cade

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Avery Babineaux is definitely unique. A hedgehog shifter from a wealthy Louisiana family, he’s chosen to live his life away from his family and among the Portland wolf pack. Life is fairly easy for him, though, as he’s able to live off an allowance from his parents and never wants for the nice things he’s used to. In fact, he’s so used to nice things that he cast of Dylan Green, a member of the Portland pack and Avery’s apparently fated mate. Dylan is just a blue collar mechanic, after all. But when Avery gets himself into trouble with some seedier shifters and puts the steady stream of family money in jeopardy, he’s forced to finally fend for himself and, though very reluctant, may actually have to ask others for help. In the process, he stumbles onto the case of a missing pack member and quickly finds himself falling down a hole that he just might not be able to climb out of–unless, just maybe, Dylan will help him out…

Read my review from July 28 for more on this title.

#3 Shirewode (The Wode, Book 2) by J. Tullos Hennig

Shirewode by J. Tullos Hennig

His family gone and his home destroyed, Rob was left for dead and that should have been his fate. Except fate decided it wasn’t his time. So he takes to the Wode, taking up the mantle of the Horned Lord, and doing his best to defend the few of his people left and the surrounding villages from the corrupt government and the church. Thinking Rob was lost, Gamelyn complied with forced exile by his brother and joined the Knights Templar. But now he has returned on a very specific mission, and he won’t let much stand in his way. Even when the two find each other again, their past may not be enough to break down the walls of pain that have built up between them. Except there is one thing that might be able to bring them back together–Marion is alive…

Read my review from October 12 for more on this title.

Shirewode by J. Tullos Hennig

Shirewode by J. Tullos HennigTitle: Shirewode (The Wode, Book 2)
Author: J. Tullos Hennig
Published: September 8, 2013
Pages: 390
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★★★

His family gone and his home destroyed, Rob was left for dead and that should have been his fate. Except fate decided it wasn’t his time. So he takes to the Wode, taking up the mantle of the Horned Lord, and doing his best to defend the few of his people left and the surrounding villages from the corrupt government and the church. Thinking Rob was lost, Gamelyn complied with forced exile by his brother and joined the Knights Templar. But now he has returned on a very specific mission, and he won’t let much stand in his way. Even when the two find each other again, their past may not be enough to break down the walls of pain that have built up between them. Except there is one thing that might be able to bring them back together–Marion is alive…

I can’t even begin to express how much I absolutely love this series. Not only do we get a thrilling and well-written take on the Robin Hood legends, but things seem so real, so well-researched, and just amazingly presented. The familiarity of the story, the fantasy elements, and the relationships just make for an incredible combination. The characters are so gritty and real–there are no soft edges here. I found it very difficult to put this one down; each little twist in the story just drew me in even further.

I am extremely excited to know that there is more to the story…

 

Greenwode by J. Tullos Hennig

23571391Title: Greenwode (The Wode, Book 1)
Author: J. Tullos Hennig
Published: January 17, 2013 (Re-released October 28, 2014)
Pages: 370
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (Re-released by DSP Publications)
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Review:

I’m going to simply start off by saying this was incredible! This refreshing and unique take on the tale of Robin Hood had me gripped to every single page. I love when an author can take a time-honored tale and truly make it her own, telling it in a way that hearkens enough to the original legend but has enough new layers to tell a new story. The layers that J. Tullos Hennig has added here are indeed many, but they also feel very natural to the story. There’s almost an air of realism to this fantasy and even an element of historical fiction through the portrayal of religion and the quest of zealous Christians to stamp out anything they view as “pagan” or “evil”. It’s also a true coming-of-age tale for both Robyn and Gamelyn (and, of course, Marion, too, though we don’t quite see as much of her here). The only disappointments I have are that I let this sit on my shelf for so long before reading it and the fact that I don’t have the sequel at hand to pick it up and start in on it immediately. Definitely one of the best fantasy novels I’ve read in some time and certainly one of the better books I’ve read recently overall. Very highly recommended!