Hi everyone and welcome to another weekly summary! Have you had a good week? I hope so! It’s been another hot one here, with plenty of blue skies!
This week has been a really exciting one… for reasons bookish and not! The first and most exciting news is family related. Anyone following me on social media will know that my sister graduated from University this week – I couldn’t be prouder!
Now onto bookish events; on Monday I took part in my first Blog Tour organised by Gollancz, posting my review of Ravencry by Ed McDonald. I thoroughly enjoyed both Blackwing and Ravencry, and I am grateful to have taken part! If anyone is yet to read my review, I would be eternally grateful if you could.
The “To Be Read” pile was reviewed and culled this week. Four out of ten books were axed in my Down the TBR Hole #11 post. Whilst it may not sound like much, over time this adds up. The TBR will look a lot healthier for it.
This week I have made real progress in reading The London Murder Mysteries books. This is ready for the upcoming blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. I had to postpone finishing Death in Dulwich to take part in the Gollancz tour for Ravencry. Luckily I made a good start on the book as early as I did so I could afford to. I finished reading this on Tuesday and already have my thoughts drafted for the review. I am currently reading The Girl in the Gallery… and most of the way through it too! I’m hoping to finish reading this by tomorrow, giving me plenty of time to draft my review.
In between chapters of The Girl in the Gallery, I have been reading A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. I’m currently 20% through, but reading brief sections at a time makes it feel like I have barely started at all! I cannot wait to start reading this one in earnest!
Nevernight makes the list again this week, but I have only listened to this audiobook one morning or two. I think things are about to get really interesting, so I may find myself starting to binge listen to this. It’s hard enough getting myself out of the door in the morning as it is!
I’ve basically undone all the hard work in my Down the TBR post because I have added as many books as I took off the list in that post…
The first addition to the list is The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. From what I can gather, it is a bit of a classic in the Fantasy genre that has inspired modern writers. Needless to say, this was pretty much an automatic add. I typically find the orphan/coming of Age storyline a little overused, but I’ve added the book knowing it’s there. I can’t complain about it.
Hold me to that. Please.
Yesterday I received a fabulous book bundle from Gollancz – The Relic Guild trilogy by Edward Cox. I am yet to read any books by this author, so I can’t wait to be properly acquainted with the series and let you know my thoughts!
Things are going to be a little different than usual because due to family commitments, I am not going to be able to post my usual Sunday Summary next week.
Don’t worry – I have plenty of other exciting posts lined up for you! To cover all bases, here are the posts coming up in the next TWO WEEKS: –
I’ll be dropping my next post on Tuesday, in which I’ll be reviewing The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. I actually finished this book at the end of May. But, due to other commitments, I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet! Oops…
Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, but certainly not for me – or you! Empire of Silence is the fantastic debut novel by Christopher Ruocchio; it officially hit bookshelves on Thursday this week! I was privileged to receive an advance copy from Gollancz. If you want to check out the review I have written for the book, you’ll be able to find it here. What does this have to do with Friday 13th, you ask? Well, as part of the launch tour, I will be sharing a guest post written by the author himself!
I may not be posting on Sunday next week, but I will have ANOTHER Blog Tour post lined up for you on Saturday. In this post, I will be reviewing Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery by Alice Castle. If you like a cozy murder mystery, then the adventures of Beth Haldane, coined “Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple”, may be of interest to you.
Jumping now to Wednesday, I will be reviewing the TBR pile again to further cull any impulse additions or books I no longer wish to read due to changing tastes. I am determined to get to the end of the list, so then I’ll have a realistic idea of how many books I truly want to read. Well, as much as is possible to gauge from an ever-expanding list, anyway.
Then, after two weeks, I’ll post the much anticipated Sunday Summary. I hope to have plenty to tell you about! If nothing else, these summaries help me get the house in order. It will be as much anticipated by me as anyone else!
Today is a bank holiday, so I get to enjoy being off work! It will be strange going back for one day tomorrow, mind. How are you all?
I’ve had a happy couple of days as I have just watched my sister graduate from University with a 1st honours degree. I am a very proud sister right now!
Today I am putting together another Down the TBR hole post, to make sure the list doesn’t become unruly. I’ve accepted it’s going to remain long… and it will always be added to, but I can try, right? For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, here are the rules: –
As well as leafing through the well-known titles that have helped shape the world in which we live, Oliver Tearle also dusts off some of the more neglected items to be found hidden among the bookshelves of the past. You’ll learn about the forgotten Victorian novelist who outsold Dickens, the woman who became the first published poet in America and the eccentric traveller who introduced the table-fork to England. Through exploring a variety of books—novels, plays, travel books, science books, cookbooks, joke books and sports almanacs—The Secret Library highlights some of the most fascinating aspects of our history. It also reveals the surprising connections between various works and historical figures. What links Homer’s Iliad to Aesop’s Fables? Or Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to the creator of Sherlock Holmes? The Secret Library brings these little-known stories to light, exploring the intersections between books of all kinds and the history of the Western world over 3,000 years.
This is pretty much a no-brainer for me. It also guarantees that my TBR will get a lot longer after I’ve read it! I am always looking for new ways to discover new books… and I think this book will do just that for me!
Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.
A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.
This book and the sadness of the near impossible friendship between these two boys make me want to read this book. I think we have all experienced similar feelings of confusion or isolations during our teenage years, so I am hoping to relate to these characters in one way or another.
The order of the world is in turmoil. An age of industry is beginning, an age of machines fuelled by magic. Sprawling cities rise, strange devices stalk the land. New money brings new power. The balance between the Hundred Kingdoms is upset. For the first time in generations the threat of war looms.
In these turbulent days, fortunes can be won. Magic runs strong in the Kressind family. Six siblings strive – one to triumph in a world of men, one to survive murderous intrigue, one to master forbidden sorcery, one to wash away his sins, one to contain the terrible energies of his soul.
And one will do the impossible, by marrying the might of magic and iron in the heart of a great ship, to cross an ocean that cannot be crossed.
I was won over by “epic fantasy” if I’m honest. It is my favourite genre of all time and I am intrigued by the combination of magic and the industrial revolution. By all means, this is not a slight book; at 650 pages, but I am up for the challenge. This is a keeper.
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?
This isn’t a case of does it stay… rather, it should be on my current reads list.
Technically, I’m listening to it via Audible, and it’s so fantastic that I have already purchased Godsgrave with my next credit. I’m already two-thirds of the way through and I cannot wait for the first book to come to its conclusion!
There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.
His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.
But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react. Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn’t careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.
I originally added these books when the author was featured in Writers Magazine. Whilst they do sound interesting, I’m not sure I want to read them as much as I did when I added them originally.
What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.
I had forgotten I added this to the TBR; to be honest, a part of me wonders why. You think it would never happen near you.
One of the teachers at my school was arrested and charged for a sexual crime.
Whilst I was no more involved than being taught by him, the story is close to the bone. Guilty or not, I don’t think I would be comfortable reading and trying to sympathise with the accused based on what has happened here.
“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”
So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.
Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.
As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city’s poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.
Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas – this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.
I think this was an impulse addition to the TBR as well. Not sure why and I can’t even justify it.
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
This sounds like the perfect blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction. When it comes to technical sci-fi, I get a bit lost. Red Rising and the plot is one I think and hope I can really get behind. I love the idea of rebellion against oppression!
On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.
Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.
Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.
It involves crime, theatre and Shakespeare. Need I say more? I absolutely love anything that centres around the stage and I am truly hooked by this synopsis.
So there you have it! I decided to bin 4 out of 10 books, so that isn’t too bad!
Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned and want me to change my mind? Let me know in the comments!
Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.
A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.
When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.
To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.
RAVENCRY is the second book in the Raven’s Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy BLACKWING.
About the Series
Blackwing, the first book of the series, is one of the best debut novels I have read to date.
The Raven’s Mark is an Epic Fantasy series set in a magical, semi-postapocalyptic world. Magic has destroyed the landscape now known as the Misery. Vicious monsters roam that poisoned land, scoured by the Nameless identified only as Crowfoot. Anyone roaming the Misery can fall victim to any of the creatures that lurk there.
Ryhalt is Blackwing and bound to serve Crowfoot. In between he takes mercenary jobs, chasing deserters and preventing them from crossing the Misery to convert to the Deep Kings. It is a long war, but Ryhalt soon finds his involvement is about to get a lot deeper.
Events in Ravencry take place four years after Blackwing. Whereas Ryhalt isn’t a particularly changed man, Valengrad has moved on from the events of the first book. The devastation is still evident though. The Bright Lady, who first appeared at the pinnacle of disaster is making appearances again. A new religion is founded under her visage and the preachers proclaim her return to save them in their darkest hours…
One of the things I really enjoyed about Ravencry is that the narrative isn’t identical to Blackwing. Having read Blackwing only a couple of weeks prior, it was clear that events were progressing. The setting and characters are familiar, but what has transpired before has changed them. Ryhalt’s cynical perspective on life is as humorous as ever, although in this book we get to see a slightly less hard-faced side to his personality. Shaped by the experiences of his past, we get to see the man he could have been… if the Nameless and Deep Kings hadn’t intervened with their war, that is.
I have always been a fan of magic with roots in scientific realism. Brandon Sanderson is particularly good for this, basing his magic on alchemy (Mistborn series) or around light (Stormlight Archives). In this series, magic centres around the filtering of light. The ability to wield magic isn’t granted to everybody, thankfully. Light spinners manipulate the light from the moon into stored energy. There are larger and darker powers too, more vast than we can imagine – known only to the Nameless and Deep Kings. Personally, I enjoy magic systems this way as it brings that world just one step closer to reality.
There is plenty of world-building throughout these books; Ed McDonald reveals the backstory gradually as the narrative continues to grow and evolve. With such a rich history, it would be easy to reveal too much too quickly. A lot of Ryhalt’s character is conveyed here, but details are divulged at the right time to compel you to read on.
Ryhalt, (or Captain Galharrow) is the perfect character to lead the narrative; he is inseparably entwined with the magic manipulating the world. Servitude to Crowfoot leads him down dark paths and lends him a depth of experience to draw upon later. Even when Ryhalt reflects on his own life, the narrative is not even for one second dull. He recognizes his flaws, doubts himself, laments his mistakes and lets us into his thoughts uncensored, proving he is as human as we are. None of the characters fall flat on the page.
I would even go so far as to call them friends.
About the Author
Ed McDonald has spent many years dancing between different professions, cities and countries, but the only thing any of them share in common is that they have allowed him enough free time to write. He currently lives with his wife in London, a city that provides him with constant inspiration, where he works as a university lecturer. When he’s not grading essays or wrangling with misbehaving plot lines he can usually be found fencing with longswords, rapiers and pollaxes. You can find out more about Ed by visiting his website or following him on Twitter (@EdMcDonaldTFK) and Facebook.
***Profile originally published on Gollancz’s website
I cannot believe we are at the beginning of a new month already! June has flown by. So, with it being the end of the week and end of the month, I have a fresh Sunday Summary and some new artwork to put together – all very late on a Sunday evening… oops.
That being said, I did publish my reading list earlier on today. I think I can be forgiven. Two posts in one day isn’t a regular occurrence for me!
This week has been a busy one really – on Monday I published some hints and tips about what to expect going self-hosted. I think that turned out to be a useful read for a few people. If you haven’t checked that out already, I would be grateful if you did. When putting the post together I wanted to relay advice I hadn’t come across on other blogs on the subject. Maybe someone will benefit from the post anyway.
Next, I featured Stephen Spotte in a guest post on Wednesday, followed by my review of his book, A Conversation with A Cat on Thursday. It is a reasonably quick read – it is remarkably funny and if you like a little history told from a new perspective, this is for you!
Last week I had put Death in Dulwich aside (for a short while) to read Ravencry by Ed McDonald for an imminently upcoming Blog Tour. I carried on where I left off there, reading Ravencry and practically devouring it as quickly as feasibly possible. I am currently using quite a *small handbag, so I have had a few chuckles with my copy of Ravencry practically hanging out of it this week.
*anything accommodating less than the kitchen sink is defined as small
I finished Ravencry on Friday night in the only way that felt acceptable… with “half a buzz on”, as Ryhalt would say.
Death in Dulwich is now back on schedule, making further progress on reading that this week. I am hoping to have that read in the next couple of days. That way I can move on to The Girl in the Gallery in good time before the tour for both books.
For the first time in a couple of weeks, I have been listening to Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. Considering the length of time, I haven’t lost the storyline at all. (I would say I haven’t lost the plot, but I can’t say that with any conviction. Some may disagree as well!)
Getting paid is always dangerous. I knew that I wanted to impose a bit of a spending ban for the next couple of weeks, so therefore I went and had a splurge beforehand. I bought three omnibuses; nearly 2,850 pages of small typeset narrative to get through… in future, anyway.
Perhaps I have a problem…
I haven’t read any of Mercedes Lackey’s books, however, I really enjoyed the very brief snippets I flicked through whilst I was in Waterstones.
When it comes to epics, I just can’t help myself! As I have shown through my love of the Discworld novels, I love books set in the same world or Universe, even if they are not directly linked.
Also, I found something a little different this week. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of making notes about books after I read them. It’s easier to review them when you have some thoughts fresh in your head. To help me, I bought this little book for that exact purpose. I should be able to keep track of my reading; it’s a perfect place to keep my notes in an organised way! Win-win!
If anyone would benefit from something similar, the link to the item on Amazon can be followed by clicking the picture.
So that’s me, spending ban starts now.
I mentioned an imminent Blog Tour coming up for Ravencry by Ed McDonald. By imminent, I mean my post goes live tomorrow! I really cannot wait to share my thoughts with you on this book! Admittedly, it will be a little strange (and it hurts my OCD slightly) because I haven’t published my review of Blackwing yet. I’ll just have to get on with it.
If anyone is yet to give the series a try, then please, please, PLEASE do!! I cannot recommend it highly enough! If you are looking for an MC that isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, is aware of his own flaws and cusses like the best of us, you’ll get on famously with Ryhalt. I sure did. If you want to know more, please check out my post tomorrow.
A couple of weeks ago I posted my first Down the TBR hole post in about six months. I don’t plan on letting that slip again. I’ve already left it too long untended. So, on Thursday I will be re-visiting my TBR and reviewing the next ten books on my list to decide whether they stay or go.
As ever, my week will have it’s my usual round-up on Sunday!
By the beginning of July last year, I had read 30 books – which is an amazing achievement! This year, I’m a little bit slower on 25, but I am still more than happy with that! Bearing in mind that I am now self-hosted and trying to write better quality posts, I think the tradeoff is worth it!
Reading fewer books this year has definitely given me that opportunity to put more of the necessary time into my blog. It does mean, however, that some of the books I planned to read this year weren’t even touched. Therefore, I am dedicating July to tying off some of the loose ends and reading books I should have gotten around to sooner:-
Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery (London Murder Mysteries #1-2)
I’m starting July exactly where I left off last month because I have a blog tour coming up for this series. On the 14th July, I’ll be reviewing both Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. I’ve run over on these because I had a wonderful opportunity to read and review Ravencry by Ed McDonald for Gollancz. However, with a shorter deadline than these two books, I had to put them aside temporarily to fulfill all of my obligations.
I’m currently over half way through Death in Dulwich, so I did manage to get a fair amount of this read last month. The narrative is reasonably easy to follow and Beth is a well-developed character. I am yet to decide if she is a particularly reliable narrator, or just an overzealous woman desperate for the truth. All will pan out in due course, I am sure.
Back in February this year I vowed to pick up A Darker Shade of Magic and experience the writing of V.E. Schwab for myself – only, never got to. This is a series I feel I could really get into, so I need to take the plunge and get reading. I am not putting this off any longer.
The premise of magic and the idea of multiple realities, without really being science-fiction is really interesting. If the ratings on Goodreads are anything to go by, I don’t think I’ll regret reading this book. We’ll just have to see if it lives up to expectation!
Children of Blood and Bone is one of my April cast-offs. Conversations are still being had about this book on the likes of Twitter and other social media platforms, and I am intrigued by the magic in the narrative. I have waited too long to pick up this book, and can only hope I enjoy reading it as much as I want to.
There has been a lot of buzz about the book highlighting issues experienced by ethnic minorities. In an interview on Mashable with Toni Adeyemi, she explains that there are references to police brutality and racism within. I’m also really looking forward to seeing a different culture. Reading Children of Blood & Bone will be an entirely new experience for me.
March of the ARC’s (aka, my March reading list) was a reasonably long list, and I didn’t get around to picking up this one. This is my last Netgalley read, so once I have reviewed the book I am going to close my account.
This is not the only reason I want to read the book though. I am enjoying a few mystery reads at the moment. Combine this with its historical theme and there you have a book with promise. In my eyes anyway… and that’s what counts, right?
This poor book has been on my TBR since 2014 and I STILL haven’t gotten around to it! I’ve re-read the first chapter sample several times. The writing really interests me, but I just can’t seem to commit to picking up the book. I have sampled the audiobook book before to get around this subconscious aversion I have. Unfortunately, I don’t like the narration. I will prefer reading myself for sure. I am now on a mission to read this (at least this year) because my friend Rachael devoured the series herself and recommended it to me.
I’ve already given myself a back-out clause for this month though. I know, I know. Call me awful, whatever, but I have a busy month coming up personally. I have over a week booked off work, but I am visiting family for some of that time. As a result, I can’t promise I’ll spend that time reading.
Obviously, I am going to try to read as much as I can though. Pinky promise.
What is good is that I already have most of these books (I think I only need to buy The Eye of The World), and I am pretty much on a spending ban until then. I’ve already bought myself a few books to make myself feel better about the prospect…
Which books are you picking up this July?
What book blogger wouldn’t proclaim themselves an avid reader?
If found without a book in hand, send for medical aid!
My name is Rebecca; welcome to my humble little blog.