Month: December 2019

Sunday Summary – 22nd December 2019

Good evening everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary – I hope you have all had a really good week? Mine has been really busy in the run-up to Christmas and I imagine a lot of folks are in the same boat! I can’t believe it’s next week… Before we jump into the excitement of next week, let’s take a look and re-cap the week just gone!

Considering the number of things I have had on outside of blogging, I’ve managed to fit in quite a few blog posts. My blogging week began with a Top Ten Tuesday post. It’s the first I have drafted for about two months now and I really enjoyed a more casual post. I also took the opportunity to look back at my blogging journey by discussing the Top Ten Bookish Changes in my Life since my blog began in 2017.

After looking at my backlog of reviews, I found an outstanding audiobook review for Scythe by Neal Shusterman, which has been outstanding since April. Yes, friends, April – you read that right! I have just finished listening to the sequel, Thunderhead, so it was the opportune time to revisit my thoughts on the first book of the series.

Friday’s Shelf Control post explored an unusual classic feminist fiction novel on my To Be Read list. It’s not generally the sort of material I am in the habit of picking up, however as it explores the history of the Feminist movement I would like to read it!

 

Books Read

I feel like I have taken a bit of a break from reading this week. With appointments, Christmas lunches, family coming home for Christmas and other festive plans, as well as the blogging, I’ve been a busy bee! That’s not to say I haven’t had time, because I have. I think with cramming in a lot of reading last week, I just wanted to do some other things. I don’t even feel guilty about it either. I’ve enjoyed adopting a more relaxed pace with it.

In terms of physical reading, I have only read about 20% of Tony Salter’s Sixty Minutes this week. Mostly today, in fact. I do plan to read more of this before going to bed tonight, now I am back in a reading mood. It’s not a very long book and very easy to read, so I’ll have it finished nice and quickly I imagine.

I have made more progress on Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris, though. More than usual. I had some extra commute time on Monday with an impromptu appointment, and my car share buddy was off work on Friday. It may not seem like much, but it equates to an extra hour and a half of the audiobook listened to. That means I am over halfway through the audiobook now and it feels like I have only just started it. I am really enjoying it. I loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey is living up to the standard of that book!

 

Books Discovered

So, I have a confession to make.

I got very lucky this week. For Christmas, my company donated 6 x £25 vouchers to a prize draw in which all employees were put into. I won one of those vouchers on Thursday. It never happens to me, but yes, I won! Well, it’s not that I never win anything… I won our Christmas Jumper competition on Wednesday as well! It’s just rare!

I had that voucher spent in about three hours, no word of a lie. That lunchtime I went to my local Waterstones and had a field day! A lot of books I liked the sound off were on offer too, so in all I put about £4 towards this lot!

There are a couple of books by authors I love in here. Stephen King’s Outsider is a reasonably new addition to the TBR, but the premise of the novel sounds great. Some of you may recall that Brandon Sanderson’s novel Starsight has not long been published with Gollancz. I really liked the sound of it, so I picked up its predecessor Skyward to start the series for myself.

There are a couple of new authors here too, because I do like to try new things. I picked up The Silence of the Girls as I enjoyed reading a similar book, Circe, earlier this year. To this day I don’t understand the hype of Circe, but it was still a reasonably good read.

I have never heard of The Ember Blade or its author, Chris Wooding. The synopsis sounds interesting though, and you can’t go far wrong with fantasy novels in my book! I didn’t look at the time, but this book has good reviews on Goodreads. A couple of authors I love, Ed McDonald and Edward Cox have rated it 5* as well, so I have every confidence I’ll enjoy it! It will be nice to try something new.

 

Coming Up…

I don’t think I need to tell you, but it’s Christmas next week! I have a lot of time planned with family, so I have taken the decision to take a brief blogging break for the festive season.

I’ll still be reading and publishing my weekly Sunday Summary next Sunday. I’m going to take the time to chill with the family, recharge my batteries and have a think about some of my plans ahead of the New Year.

That’s all from me in today’s post. I hope you have enjoyed this week’s Sunday Summary post!
What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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Shelf Control #12 – 20/12/2019

Hi guys – Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

By using these Shelf Control posts I can look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Women’s Room – Marilyn French

Goodreads – The Women’s Room

The bestselling feminist novel that awakened both women and men, The Women’s Room follows the transformation of Mira Ward and her circle as the women’s movement begins to have an impact on their lives. A biting social commentary on an emotional world gone silently haywire, The Women’s Room is a modern classic that offers piercing insight into the social norms accepted so blindly and revered so completely. Marilyn French questions those accepted norms and poignantly portrays the hopeful believers looking for new truths.

 

Purchase Links: – Waterstones     Amazon UK     Amazon US

My Thoughts…

I wouldn’t describe myself as a feminist; I don’t talk about it very often either, but it is a subject that interests me. I think there is a real misconception of feminism now – I almost get the impression that some “feminists” pursue female interests so hard that they promote inequality as a result. By definition, that isn’t true feminism. Feminism is all about equality. I’m of the opinion that if women want to be CEO’s, politicians, or firefighters… great! If men want to be dancers, make-up artists, hairdressers or nurses, that’s great too! You should be able to do whatever you want to do.

As a prominent work of feminist fiction, I can’t wait to read it and learn more about the history of feminism, as well as compare some of the topics covered and compare it to modern-day.

Have you read The Women’s Room or any other feminist fiction? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

Audiobook Review: Scythe – Neal Shusterman

Happy Thursday everyone! It’s nearly the end of the week – I hope you are having a good one?

Today I am sharing a really, REALLY overdue audiobook review. I finished listening to Scythe in April this year and I have just finished the sequel, Thunderhead. I want to get my review written whilst the story is fresh in my mind. Listening to Thunderhead has been a great prompt to remembering where it all began.

 

Scythe – Neal Shusterman

Goodreads – Scythe

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

 

Purchase Links: – Waterstones      Amazon UK      Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoy dystopian fiction, so having heard great things about it in the blogging community I decided to “read” it myself. Ultimately, I ended up downloading the audiobook. I think it was part of a 2 for 1 sale on Audible. The narration of the audiobook was done really well, so I am glad I have chosen to listen to this book/series as opposed to just reading it.

Citra and Rowan are apprenticed to Honorary Scythe Faraday. It’s a life that neither asked for nor imagined likely, yet that makes them perfect candidates. Scythe Faraday is one of the most upstanding, honourable Scythes of the order and he teaches them the fundamental values. Thou shalt kill. Thou shalt kill with no bias, bigotry or malice aforethought. He is of the old guard, but Citra and Rowan find themselves dragged into political rivalry amongst Scythes with deadly consequences.

The concept of the human race conquering death is a really interesting one; appointing individuals to restore the balance is yet more so. It relies on appointing altruistic people to behave with decorum and dignity… and well, this is the human race we are talking about. This may be a society run to perfection by the Thunderhead (imagine the Cloud… but conscious), but humans are still impeccably flawed. It works as a great conflict point for the novel!

I knew of the very subtle romance element between Citra and Rowan – I’ll hold my hands up and admit I expected annoying, pining teenagers. Boy, I was wrong and I am glad of it. I would have found that really annoying to work through but thankfully it wasn’t a problem at all. It is very subtle. Their dynamic with each other is difficult to place as a lot of it is governed by external circumstances. They bond as a result of training together but extraneous events drives them apart.

The plotline was cleverly written and it was unpredictable, in a good way! Just when you think you know what’s going to happen everything changes. Nothing is sacred, no one is safe. The plot only develops further as the series progresses, but that’s a story for another day!

Have you read Scythe? What did you think of the novel?

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Changes in My Bookish Life Since 2017

Hi guys and welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! This is one of the less regular features on my blog – I don’t think I have written one of these for a couple of months or so.

The topic I have chosen is one I saw posted by Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl, published last month. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Top Ten Changes in My Bookish Life. Jana begins her list from the commencement of blogging, so I’ll do the same too!

 

Firstly, I read a lot more!

My previous record number of books read in 2017 (60 books) has been beaten; with a couple of weeks to go, I’ll set a new record of 70-something books.

 

I read a greater variety of genres

I used to read a pretty much only fantasy, both before and at the beginning of my blogging adventure. Now I read a lot of genres, often switching between them for variety. I have diversified A LOT since then.

 

…And read new genres too!

I had never read a horror novel until I started blogging. Pet Sematary was my first horror novel, swiftly followed by IT less than two months later!

 

I read less on Kindle than I used to

I used to read nearly 100% on Kindle. However, now I am earning a little more I am buying physical copies of books I love. I also get physical review copies from publishers too!

 

I have a significantly longer TBR…

Perks of being part of a book blogging community: you have lots of amazing people to talk to and discuss books with. Also, you get to hear about all the books and consequently there aren’t enough hours in the day to read them all…

 

I started self-hosting my blog in June 2018

I love the freedom this allows me. Mostly. I have wanted to throw my computer out of the window on one or two occasions with it, but in the grand scheme of things it’s great!

 

I actually have a blogging schedule

When I first started blogging I basically posted when I felt like it. I was far more sporadic than I am now. Now I am drafting and publishing content regularly!

 

I have a community to talk to/with!

I have branched out with a lot of social media and as such, I have a lot more people to talk to. It’s rare I get to have a bookish conversation offline.

 

I’m no longer afraid to ask publishers for review copies

This came with confidence and the growth of my blog. Now I have a bit of a following, it’s worthwhile for publishers to send me books to review.

 

I am very lucky to be on publishers mailing lists

Over time I have gotten myself on various mailing lists, giving me greater access to books and new authors.

It’s fun to look back and consider how you started out and compare it to the present day. How has your reading life change recently or over time?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 15th December 2019

Good evening everyone and welcome back to this week’s Sunday Summary instalment! Have you had a good week? Between going back to work, getting ready for Christmas and reading/blogging, I definitely haven’t been bored!

My first post of the week was a book review of Moroda for L. L. McNeil. I received a copy of Moroda in exchange for review. After being really conscious that I had promised to read the book in October/November, but finished it earlier this month, I managed to get a quick turnaround on reviewing it. If you are a fan of classic fantasy novels and haven’t taken a look at my review yet, I really recommend it! The book, (and the review) that is.

The next day, Wednesday, I shared yet another book review. This time, my post was for the blog tour of After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks by Nancy Jardine. This is the third instalment of the Celtic Fervour series, which is predominantly historical fiction with the odd element of romance. Thankfully the later books of the series have less romantic emphasis than the first book. If you know me or read my blog regularly you’ll know that just isn’t my cup of tea! I love the history behind the novels as I am a newbie to the history of the Roman invasion of Britain. It’s never too late to learn something new!

Friday’s featured novel in this week’s First Lines Friday post has a little of a festive theme to it. I almost featured the book a couple of weeks ago; however, I decided to save it for December as it does have Christmas ties. This is also a fabulous historical fiction novel. I’d go so far as to say that it’s my favourite Netgalley download ever!

 

Books Read

I have some fantastic news to share with you all – this week… last night in fact, I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2019! I’ve read 70 books. Somehow, I’ve managed to beat my all-time record and with two-and-a-half weeks to spare! I’m amazed, but I’m also not done yet! If I finish this month’s TBR then my new record to beat will be 74 books. Do you think I can do it?

I also really like that the book that completed the challenge was the conclusion to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I don’t normally devour books like this, but it was worth it! Her writing is so funny, engaging, entertaining. I just love it! I’ve been reading this all week, pretty much, between everything else going on. Sometimes I put myself down a little if I have spent all week on a book (bear in mind my average is 1 book every 5 days). I shouldn’t though. I think I had read about 100 pages when I wrote last week’s Sunday Summary, so that means I’ve still read 500 pages this week alone!

This week I started a new audiobook – Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. I listened to The Tattooist of Auschwitz last year. It was fantastically written, yet hauntingly devastating to hear what horrors people had to live through. The reminder at the end that it was a work of fiction but based on a real experience had me in tears. Cilka’s Journey is the same, but focuses on the treatment of women in Auschwitz/Birkenau and also in Soviet Russia after being convicted of assisting the Nazi’s later on. I have listened to nearly three hours of the audiobook already… which is a little more than average.

 

Books Discovered

I have been too busy to be looking for books, however, I have managed to acquire a couple this week. Lauren, the author of Moroda really liked my review published this week and has asked if I will read and review the next two books in the series, Palom and Amarah. I enjoyed the book, the fantasy world and the characters. Naturally, I said yes!

 

Coming Up…

It has been a little while since I drafted a Top Ten Tuesday post, so that’s my first post for next week coming up! For this post, I actually want to pick a topic that The Artsy Reader girl posted a few weeks ago – Top Ten Changes in my Bookish Life!

I have a few book reviews to catch up on and since I am finished with blog tours for the year, it makes sense to get some of those outstanding reviews done! On Thursday I am reviewing Scythe by Neal Shusterman, as I finished listening to the audiobook in April this year. Yep, it’s a late review guys. Sorry! Having just listened to its sequel though, I’m in the right headspace to review this.

On Friday I’ll be taking another look at the TBR pile and telling you about the next book on the list; what it is, what interests me about it and why, overall, I want to read it. I hope you can check-in for this post!

So, that’s all from me in this week’s Sunday Summary update! What have you been reading? Have you set a reading challenge or have you completed it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 13/12/2019

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my First Lines Friday post! I love writing these and either sampling the beginnings of books still to be read or re-reading old ones! Today’s featured book is one that I read in May 2018… I wish I had read it at Christmas. It’s a historical fiction novel that, for reasons that will come apparent, has a very festive vibe.

Can you guess what it is?

 

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open! Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat…

If, at a certain hour on a certain winter night, you too had been wandering the warren between New Bond Street and Avery Row, you might have seen it for yourself. One moment there would be darkness, only the silence of shops stuttered up and closed for business. The next, the rippling snowflakes would part to reveal a mews you had not noticed before – and, along that mews, a storefront garlanded in lights. Those lights might be nut pinpricks of white, no different to the snowflakes, but they would still draw your eye. Lights like these captivate and refract the darkness. Lights like these can bewitch the most cynical of souls.

Watch out, because here one such soul comes, hurrying out of the night.

 

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

The Toymakers – Robert Dinsdale

Goodreads – The Toymakers

Do you remember when you believed in magic?

The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!

It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.

For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…

 

Purchase links:  Waterstones     Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Did you enjoy today’s extract of The Toymakers? Is it on your list to read? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: After Whorl Donning Double Cloaks – Nancy Jardine

Hello everyone and welcome back to another review post! Two in two days, I know!

I am really enjoying Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour series so far. If you haven’t read anything about the series to date, you can find my reviews for the first book of the series, The Beltane Choice and the sequel, After Whorl: Bran Reborn using the links here. Reading those posts and the synopses will probably go a long way to helping understand where events pick up in book three!

As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to Nancy Jardine for providing the books and for her lovely feedback on my posts so far!

 

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks

Goodreads – After Whorl Donning Double Cloaks

AD 73 Northern Roman Britain

Brennus of Garrigill—Bran—monitors Roman activity across Brigantia. Stability prevails till AD 78 when Agricola, Governor of Britannia, orders complete conquest of all barbarians. Brennus heads north, seeking the Caledon who will lead the northern tribes against Rome.

Ineda treks northwards with her master, Tribune Valerius – supplies officer for Agricola’s Britannia campaigns. At Pinnata Castra, she escapes and seeks fellow Brigantes congregating for battle in the north.

The Legions of the Roman Empire and the Caledon allies clash at Beinn na Ciche in AD 84, but where are Brennus and Ineda?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan continue…

Purchase Link – Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

Events in After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks set the series up for an epic conclusion to the series – one I am really looking forward to reading! Each book is told from different character perspectives. It keeps the narrative really fresh and is done so well that the character relationships allow us to keep track of everyone throughout their gallivanting over the country!

When we met Ineda in book two, After Whorl: Bran Reborn I thought she was a really interesting character right away. I was hoping to get to see more of her role to play in the storyline and Donning Double Cloaks hasn’t disappointed! One of the main focuses of this novel is how her life dramatically changes after she is taken by Tribune Valerius and her new life as his slave.

A fervent anti-Roman woman at the point of being taken, Ineda struggles to adjust to her new Roman life. Years of captivity and scorn for being the Tribune’s “favourite” forge a dilemma in her. She has to grapple with the moral decision and risk of becoming an informant to aid the native Celtic tribes against the Roman invasion. Does she help her native people at risk of her own life and endanger the man she has come to love in her own way? I really enjoyed reading this conflict point and Ineda’s direction of character development as a result of her circumstances.

The narrative of After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks spans a longer timeline than previous books and events start to move quickly towards the end of the novel. The Romans advance further into Britannia the Celts travel further North to temporary safety. There is a definite build-up to the climax expected in the final novel of the series, and I cannot wait to read it! I am caught between my love for the fearless Celts and the knowledge from history that the Romans indeed conquered Britain.

How will the series end and what will happen to the many beloved characters of the series? There’s only one way to find out!

 

Giveaway to Win x1 signed paperback of After Whorl: Double Cloaks to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494318/

 

Author Bio

Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)

A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.

Social Media Links –

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk

Website:www.nancyjardineauthor.com/

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine

 

Book Review: Moroda – L. L. McNeil

Good morning everyone! It’s Tuesday… the worst day of the week is over with and today I am excited to be sharing my review of Moroda by L. L. McNeil. I was very kindly approached by her some time ago requesting me to review her book! As I love the fantasy genre (and dragons!) I absolutely said yes.

The timing of my reading Moroda didn’t quite go to plan, so sorry Lauren! I said that I would be reading and reviewing this in October/November… and I started reading this on the 30th November. It wasn’t my best month by a long shot…

So, enough of that! Shall we get on to what I actually made of the book? As always, I’ll get the usual disclaimer out and let you know that whilst I received a free copy of this to review, my thoughts expressed in this review are my honest opinion.

 

Moroda – L. L. McNeil

Goodreads – Moroda

Linaria is a world where dragons are revered as gods, where airships rule the skies, and where war is stirring.

For Moroda, a former Goldstone, her life of luxury ends following her father’s sudden death. When her city is destroyed by a dragon, she and her sister ally with a sky pirate and narrowly escape the carnage—only to find a vigilante from an exiled race has left a trail of destruction everywhere his growing army has travelled. With compulsion at his fingertips, he strengthens his hold over Linaria’s people by stealing the power of dragons. It’s only a matter of time before Moroda, too, is forced to submit.

With war nipping at her heels and danger lurking in her companions and adversaries, Moroda must quickly learn about herself, her world, and the dragons so intent on reducing it all to ash.

2018 SPFBO Semi-Finalist
Shortlisted for the Best Indie Book Awards 2017 – Fantasy.

Moroda is the first novel in an epic six-book saga, following a group of characters as war rages across their world. With pirates and soldiers, smiths and princes, Linaria is a vibrant land with a deeply unsettled past and an equally ominous future.

 

My Thoughts…

Magic? Check. Dragons? Check? Well built, intricate universe in which the novel is set? Check again.

Moroda is a fantastic novel to pick up for anyone who loves a classic fantasy tale. The story begins with Moroda in a tricky predicament in which her world is turned upside down for good. She finds herself imprisoned for speaking her mind against a nobleman with the power to influence others. Then, a dragon attack on her home town sends her and a ragtag group on an adventure to discover the meaning behind recent events and the consequences they will have on the rest of the world.

One of my favourite aspects of the novel is the range of vastly different characters that accompany Moroda on her journey. From a feisty, self-serving sky pirate with a mean attitude to literal royalty, the band of travellers cannot get more diverse! That offers a great insight into the different origins of many of the characters and goes a long way to helping develop the world and background of Linaria.

The BEST thing about the book though was the ending. It’s really hard to talk about it without giving anything away, but I’ll do my best. If the book had a more frivolous/light-hearted conclusion than it did, the book would have had a solid three-star rating. In my opinion, the way events draw to a close – the consequences of the war and power of magic used makes the ending all-the-better! It isn’t a happily-ever-after sort of tale and I love that! It lends a realistic, gritty quality to the writing. Knowing that anything can happen at any time makes you invest in characters more than when you are reasonably safe in the knowledge that everything is going to be okay.

In the interest of fairness and honesty, there is one feature I would have liked to have seen in the book. If Moroda had strayed a little further from some of the overused conventions of fantasy novels, I think this would have been a five-star review instead of a four. I have read a lot of fantasy over the years and I am well versed with its tropes by now. As a result, I really enjoy books that push the boundaries and adopt their own take on the genre.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 8th December 2019

Sunday evenings come around too fast! It always feels like I barely finish one Sunday Summary and then here I am sat starting another. I hope you have had a good week? Mine has been great as I have been enjoying the last of my time off for the year and getting Christmas shopping finished. I have even gotten most of it wrapped. Look at me being organised! I think this time last year I had barely started…

In between drafting Sunday Summary posts, I have managed to squeeze a few others in. Last week, immediately after drafting last week’s update I had to jump into writing a review for Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. I published that post first thing on Monday.

December’s reading list was published on Wednesday 4th, although it had been decided well in advance of that date. I have a lot of tours coming up in January, so I have to start my reading now to get myself prepared. I do have a couple of books of my own choice in there too. In that post, I also talk about why there aren’t many festive books on the list, so if you haven’t checked out that post yet here is the link to it.

Lastly, on Friday I shared the next Shelf Control post in my regular feature. Not only did I talk about a book that I was gifted nearly three years ago now, but I also learned it was part of a series. I had no idea before writing that post! It’s a classic science-fiction novel and I seem to be getting on with those really well at the moment. I should probably pick it up soon!

 

Books Read

Whilst I say in one breath that I am doing well with science-fiction novels of late, I have had to set one aside for now. I have been enjoying reading Howling Dark but I just don’t think I have time to pick it up again this month. That said… if I do manage to finish this list early then I’ll pick this up again. I have a couple of short(er) books on the TBR, so maybe?

Instead, I began the week by finishing off another carryover from last month, Moroda by L. L. McNeil. I basically started reading this on the last day of November as I had promised the author to read it in October/November time. I am really pleased with myself as I read this quite quickly. Fingers crossed I’ll be reviewing it very shortly for her too.

After Moroda, I picked up my first read of December. I was keen to leave behind a bad month of reading (or lack of progress) and start this month’s TBR in earnest. Again, After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks was only in my hands for a few of days before I finished it. I was excited to start the month reading this as I have already read and enjoyed the first couple of books in the series. It’s almost a reassurance that I’m starting in a good place.

The latter end of the week has been spent with my head buried in the concluding novel to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor. This is my current read and I am LOVING IT! It’s a shame I have to go back to work tomorrow instead of sitting at home and reading this…

Tell you what else I did get done this week – I finished listening to Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. I typically listen to audiobooks in the car and I expected to finish it in the couple of journeys I made. I think I listened to the last three minutes or so at home, so I really wasn’t wrong! It also surprises me how long it took me to listen to – about seven weeks! I’m so slow with audiobooks.

 

Books Discovered

It amazes me that I have spent a week off work, shopping and generally mooching around and yet I have not added a single book to the TBR this week. I have been good (spending my money on everyone else!)

 

Coming Up…

As I am pretty late to getting to read Moroda, I’m keen to get my review live as soon as possible! So, with that in mind, my intention is to have my thoughts on this fantasy novel published on my blog first thing on Tuesday.

I have been reading After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks this week as I have a blog tour post scheduled for Wednesday 11th. In that post I’ll be linking to my reviews of the earlier books in the series The Beltane Choice and After Whorl: Bran Reborn, as well as share my views of the latest instalment. I hope you can tune in for that!

As always, I’ll be preparing a First Lines Friday post for you to round up the working week. I don’t like to choose my featured book of the week too early in advance. I’ll be picking it on Thursday when I sit down to write this post. No spoilers for you to ruin the surprise, I’m afraid!

 

 

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Shelf Control #11 – 06/12/2019

Hi guys – Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

 

By using these Shelf Control posts I can look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Today’s featured book is one I have owned for nearly three years now, but haven’t picked up yet!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

Goodreads – Dune

Purchase Links – Waterstones     Amazon UK     Amazon US

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender’s Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

 

My Thoughts…

I received a copy of Dune from former work colleagues for my birthday nearly three years ago now. It’s actually scary how the time flies! Even before throwing myself into reading as a daily habit and starting my blog in 2017, I was known for my bookish tendencies.

I also think they made a really good choice of book for me too! Dune is a classic and highly award-winning science-fiction novel. Truth is, before I had been gifted it, I hadn’t heard of it. I have only just realised that this is the first book of an eight-part series as well! I prefer a series to a standalone book – I guess that’s the part of me that likes long, complex stories…

As I have had this for a little while now, I do think I should make an effort to pick it up soon. I’ve also been doing really well lately for picking up more science-fiction novels.

Have you read Dune? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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