Month: December 2019

Reading List: December 2019

Good afternoon readers! It’s the last month of 2019, so this is my last Reading List of the year… Wow. Where did that go?

I am really impressed with the number of books I have read this year! My all-time record of 60 books has already been beaten, set when the reading and blogging adventures began in 2017. I initially set myself a reading target of 50 books because that was how many I read in 2018. Now, I am aiming for 70. I only have 3 books left to hit that target!

By the time I include the rest of December’s TBR and my audiobook, I think I’ll have read 74 books. A part of me considered trying to push to 75, but I think that’s too ambitious. I’m happy where I am anyway, so no point pushing myself too hard.

Which books are closing out the reading journey this year?

 

After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks – Nancy Jardine

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…

 

I am reading Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour series and reviewing the books as part of the organised blog tours. I picked up these books as they have given me the chance to read historical fiction in a completely new time period. I’m really enjoying reading about the Roman conquest of Britain – so much so, I have started learning a little Latin!

I am already 40% of the way through this book and as I have no plans for the rest of the day, I’m hoping to finish this one soon!

 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

 

I have to finish this before the end of the year! I was completely and utterly captivated by Daughter of Smoke and Bone on holiday in October. So much so, I read Days of Blood and Starlight last month. It’s rare that I devour a series as quickly as this, but what can I say? I’ve come to love Laini Taylor’s books that much that it has to be done!

 

Sixty Minutes – Tony Salter

Goodreads – Sixty Minutes

Five different people. Five separate lives. Sixty minutes to bind them for ever.

Hassan, Jim, Shuna, Dan and Nadia come from very different worlds. If life were straightforward, their paths would never cross. But our lives are rarely that simple and, as the clock ticks away the minutes of a single hour on a July morning, fate draws all five together in a headlong rush towards disaster.

Who are the heroes and who are the villains? Tony Salter’s latest novel leaves us guessing right up to the last page.

 

When I received the email inviting me to the blog tour of Sixty Minutes, I was immediately drawn in by the synopsis. It is very vague on the circumstances but has a lot of intrigue: who are these people and what has drawn them together?

There’s only one way to find out what happens…

 

Million Eyes – C. R. Berry

Goodreads – Million Eyes

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen? Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to King Edward III in 1348. Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them. Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.

 

Million Eyes sticks with the science-fiction vibe I have been feeling lately. I’m also looking forward to the thriller element of the novel and finding out why the time-travelling assassins are set on re-writing history. Could the alternative be worse?

I am taking part in the upcoming blog tour for this novel next year – yes, next year, but that’s not that far away!

 

Fires of the Dead – Jed Herne

Goodreads – Fires of the Dead

Fire can’t be tamed.

Wisp is a pyromancer: a magician who draws energy from fires to make his own flames. He’s also a criminal, one job away from retirement. And it can’t come bloody soon enough.

Leading his misfit crew, Wisp ventures into a charred and barren forest to find a relic that could change the realm forever. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt, and the forest isn’t as barren as it seems …

A jaded gang leader longing for retirement

A bloodthirsty magician with a lust for power

A brutish fighter who’s smarter than he looks

A young thief desperate to prove herself

A cowardly navigator with secrets that won’t stay buried

Together, they must survive fights, fires, and folk tales that prove disturbingly real – if they don’t kill each other first.

 

I saw this novella on a website called BookSirens, which is a lot like Netgalley if you haven’t come across it before. The concept of a non-altruistic main character in a fantasy genre novel is one I love already and I have read a good few books like it already. With this being a novella, this should be really quick to pick up and review before the deadline next year!

 

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Goodreads – A Christmas Carol

‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’

Introduction and Afterword by Joe Wheeler
To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late.

Part of the Focus on the Family Great Stories collection, this edition features an in-depth introduction and discussion questions by Joe Wheeler to provide greater understanding for today’s reader. “A Christmas Carol” captures the heart of the holidays like no other novel.

 

I made a real effort to seasonally read in October, but it’s not so straightforward in December. Sure, there are plenty of books to choose from, but they are all women’s fiction. It’s the same with Christmas movies – city girl comes home to country routes for Christmas, reunites with old flame, falls in love, is “torn” between going back to old life but you just KNOW that it’s going to end happily ever after *sigh*

Will someone please pass me a puke bucket?

As with Christmas films, there are only a select few Christmas themed books that really appeal to me. This month, in addition to watching Miracle on 34th Street (the edition with Richard Attenborough), I will be reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. As a classic, I can’t really turn my nose up at this one. At least, I hope not or you will be calling me Scrooge.

For the record, I love Christmas… just not all the cheesiness that goes with it. Sorry, not sorry.

That’s my reading list for December! What are you reading this month? Did you set any reading goals and are you likely to achieve them?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: Awa and the Dreamrealm – Isa Pearl Ritchie

Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. Thanks to both the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! If you want to learn more about the book or want to read other posts about this middle-grade children’s novel, please check out some of the posts by other bloggers on the tour!

 

 

Awa and the Dreamrealm: Dreamweavers Book 1

Goodreads – Awa and the Dreamrealm

What if dreams are more real than waking life?

Life is already complicated enough for Awa Bryant when she starts having weird dreams – waking dreams – and strange coincidences start appearing in her real life.

She meets dreamcharmer, Veila, a quirky glowing creature who helps to guide Awa through the mysterious Dreamrealm.

At first the Dreamrealm is a glorious escape from Awa’s daily struggles but something is not right… Soon Awa discovers she has a bigger quest, and everything she cares about is at stake. Will she be brave enough to face her fears and save her friends?

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK       Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Labelling this book as a children’s novel feels a little simplistic, in my opinion. I would like to credit something I really love about the book straight off the bat. I love that it tackles and teaches its readership about some difficult topics. Separation and racism aren’t the kind of ideas I imagined to crop up in the novel. However, they are very prevalent problems for kids to experience these days. Sadly, it does happen. Bullying is also tackled in the narrative. I would argue this is very common (after all, I was bullied at school) but that’s not a reason to neglect the subject at all! If anything, I think it makes Awa really relatable as a character.

Awa and the Dreamrealm will really appeal to those with wild imaginations. The descriptions of the Dreamrealm are beautiful and vivid. It contrasts well with the mundane, normal everyday aspect of her life: going to a new school, trying to make new friends and get by as best she can and adjust to the fresh start.

At around 200 pages, this is a respectable length read for the target audience. The plot moves along swiftly so as to keep the reader engaged. The chapters are reasonably short too, switching between each “realm” frequently to break up the action and keep the narrative fresh.

Although not the intended audience of the book, I really enjoyed reading this children’s novel. It’s good to change up your reading habits now and again and Awa and the Dreamrealm allowed me to do this. The book is still part of one of my favourite genres so it was really easy to get into.

 

Giveaway to Win 1 x kindle copy of Awa and the Dreamrealm (INT)

*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/33c69494313/

 

About the Author

Isa Pearl Ritchie is a New Zealand writer. As a child, she loved creating imaginary worlds. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. Her second novel, Fishing for Māui, was selected as one of the top books of 2018 in the New Zealand Listener and was a finalist in the NZ Booklovers Award for Best Adult Fiction Book 2019. Awa and the Dreamrealm is her first book for young people.

www.isaritchie.com

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/isapearlritchie/

https://twitter.com/isapearlritchie

https://www.instagram.com/isapearlritchie/

Sunday Summary – 1st December 2019

Good evening everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post! I can’t believe it’s December already! I have spent the day helping my parents put their Christmas decorations up; I’ll be doing mine in the next few days. Where has this year gone?

So, what have I been up to this week? Well, aside from using some days off work to have a good tidy up and a clear out, I have been doing a little bit of reading in between. On Tuesday I shared my review of Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs as part of the blog tour with Gollancz. I am really glad I asked to take part in the tour, even though I ended up reading this rather hastily in order to get my post live on time. This one at least wasn’t my fault!

Thursday’s post was a promo post for book four of the Battle Ground series by Rachel Churcher. I featured the third book on my blog a little while ago and it was a pleasure to feature the series once again, on publication day of book four, no less.

On Friday I shared another First Lines Friday post. This week I featured a book on my To Be Read list (TBR). I’m looking forward to reading this book; I also happened to feature another book of similar genre by the same author in my recent Top Ten Tuesday – New Releases I am Excited About post.

 

Books Read

I’m disappointed with this month’s reading progress, but it can’t really be helped. I got off to a slow start with finishing Imaginary Friend, my last read in October, on the 9th November. I’ve had things going on which have hampered my progress too. I’m trying to finish one book tonight, but even with that in mind I have had to drop one book on this month’s list and I am going into December having only part-read another.

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I have made as much progress as I can on a few books. I finished Ctrl+S on Sunday night as I only had a few pages left. From there, I picked up Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio again as this is the book I set aside to read Ctrl+S. I got to page 231 towards the end of the week, which from 55 is pretty good going.

Yesterday I set the books aside once again in favour of a review request I promised for October/November time. Obviously, it was the last day of November and I hadn’t touched this book at all yet. I am impressed with how I have done with this one; since last night I have read 69% of the book, which roughly equates to just over 280 pages. This book is my priority over the next couple of days in order to get a quick turnaround on a review for the author.

Progress on Thunderhead has been a little slower this week with only a couple of commutes from work as part of my normal routine. I visited my friend Vicky on Friday, so I listened to this travelling to and from her house. That equates to two work commutes when I think about it. I have less than two hours left on the audiobook so I am confident I will be finishing it this week!

 

Books Discovered

I have a few additions to this section, even though I haven’t been particularly looking for anything new as such.

I had a bit of an unpleasant beginning to this week and so I decided to buy myself a book to cheer myself up. I’m collecting classics in paperback, and I was going to buy it very soon anyway. I’ll give you a hint: it will be appearing on this month’s reading list in a couple of days.

When featuring Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher on Thursday, I said that I planned to pick up and read the series although I couldn’t for the tour. Rachel kindly let me know that books one to three were available to download for free as it was publication day for book four. Naturally, I downloaded them!

 

Coming Up…

Next week is going to be busy for me. I have a few planned blog posts already – one I will be drafting immediately after this one! Tomorrow I am publishing my review of Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. My post is part of the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

On Wednesday I’ll be sharing December’s reading list. Considering I made such an effort to read seasonally in October, I only have one Christmassy book on this list. I’m not a festive cheese person, so it’s not just because I have lots of reading to do ahead of next month’s blog tour mayhem! No prizes for guessing what it is now, I might have already mentioned it in this post…

It’s the turn of a Shelf Control post on Friday. So, I’ll be looking at the next book on my TBR list and sharing just why I want to read it. I was gifted a copy of the book I’ll be featuring nearly three years ago now for my birthday. It fits in well with the recent sci-fi theme I’ve had with my reading and blogging. It’s also a bit of a classic. Any idea what it might be?

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post. Let me know in the comments – what have you been reading this week?

 

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