Hi guys! Welcome back to another Sunday Summary update from me. I hope you have had a good week?
This week has felt a little more normal to me. After the busyness of last week and all the home improvements I’ve been doing, it has been nice to enjoy a little time off. It’s not for a lack of stuff that needs doing; I still have some tidy up jobs to do but until yesterday I lacked the tools to do it. I’ll be back at it next week!
This week I have been making more progress with A Dance with Dragons pt 2 and I am now approximately 35% of the way through the book. I’ll be reading this again tonight and hopefully picking it up more frequently next week. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to make some better progress soon.
In addition to ADWD, I also continued listening to Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I actually listened to this last night whilst working on a jumper I’ve been crocheting. I only had a couple of hours left or so and managed to finish this in one sitting last night.
I have bought a few more books this week, but none of them are discoveries particularly. Since I finished Moon over Soho and I’m really enjoying the series, I spent 3 of the audible credits I had accumulated on the next few books in the series. I’m invested now and it makes sense to me to continue to enjoy these on the same medium.
In addition to the above, I also bought a kindle copy of a book today. I had an email about a deal on a book in a series I’m currently reading. In fact, I’m coincidentally reading one of these books a little later this month! I love the Saxon stories series by Bernard Cornwell and I was always going to read Sword of Kings at some point anyway. So, it made sense to get a copy now.
Since I am going to be doing a few bits around the house and studying in case my exam goes ahead next month, my posting schedule is going to be a little light. Midweek I am going to share a review of a fantasy novel by one of my favourite authors – Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I read this book towards the end of last year and it has been eagerly awaiting a review since then. I really enjoyed this book (as I have all Sanderson books, to be fair) and I’m going to be sharing why with you very soon!
Then, as usual, I’ll give you my round-up of the week in a Sunday Summary post.
That’s all from me in this Sunday Summary post! What have you been reading? Have you read any of the books mentioned in today’s post?
Today’s audiobook review is for my second historical fiction novel by Heather Morris. I loved listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz despite its subject matter, so I knew I had to listen to Cilka’s Journey as well!
As if the events of Auschwitz aren’t harrowing enough, Cilka’s Journey centres around a young woman who is imprisoned in a labour camp after being liberated from the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau site. She is imprisoned for helping the Nazis – her crime: prostituting herself to them… like she had a choice!
In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again.
Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis–with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to survive.
The first thing I loved about this story is that it taught me something new. I didn’t actually know about the labour camps and the trials men and women such as Cilka went through. So much is known about the conditions and the treatment of prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau and I think it’s overshadowed other events following the Second World War. I have read a few books around the subject now, but nothing like this.
As with The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the tale is based on a real person’s account of what happened to them. Reading about it in a fictional sense is upsetting enough, but knowing that many people lived through such a terrible experience is even more harrowing. There is a lot of detail to the narrative, which I really enjoy; it validates the authenticity of the events and conditions people were forced to live in. It also makes it very easy for us as listeners/readers to put ourselves in Cilka’s shoes, feel her pain, sorrow, and a few moments of joy.
The bleak descriptions of the bitterly cold Siberian labour camp are haunting. Living in such cruel conditions made the lives of these women very difficult, especially for those left weak from their time in the concentration camp. It’s frighteningly easy to feel the isolation these women have from the rest of the world. Not all is bleak, however, as many strong friendships are forged between them in their common suffering. They have few personal possessions of their own, but readily give up what they can to help others. They find solace in each other and help one another through their darkest days.
This is an audiobook review, so it’s only fair to comment on how well the audiobook is narrated. The narrator Louise Brealey’s narration style is fantastic. Cilka’s Journey is an emotional account of horrific events and her ability to encapsulate the emotion makes it even easier for the reader (listener) to immerse themselves with the story.
As I hope you can tell from the review, this was a five-star read (listen) for me. I absolutely loved it and I’m sure it’s a book I will go back and read again!
Have you read Cilka’s Journey or The Tattooist of Auschwitz? Let me know in the comments!
No surprises this month, I am actually setting a reading list this time. It was very unusual not setting one last month, but definitely the right decision to make. I had more than enough on my plate with moving house and getting tidied up afterwards without pressuring myself to read as much as possible in between.
The truth is I am going to be working on various bits and pieces in the next few months. Almost the entire house still needs redecorating for example, and that’s going to take time to do. I’m also supposed to be taking an exam in a month’s time, but that’s uncertain at the moment. The venue has cancelled pretty much all exams right now, but with one corona case left and thirteen days since our last positive testing, I’m hopeful that we will beat the stinking virus and the situation may change. Whether it happens or not, I’m still preparing for it now, so that’s more time I have to set aside for it.
Long story short, yes I am setting a TBR… but it’s not going to be a long one. I don’t want to overburden myself or lose focus on home improvements because that’s more important. I love my reading and my blog, but I know that taking a ‘step back’ is what’s needed in the short term. If I do manage to read more than I expect – great! Equally, if I don’t, I’m not going to kick myself. I’m already 6 books behind schedule so I’m very unlikely to hit this year’s target of 80 books. I was on track before the move happened, but not anymore and I doubt I’ll claw it back. Never mind.
So, enough ramble… shall we check out my TBR?
A Dance with Dragons pt 2 – After the Feast – George R. R. Martin
The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.
In King’s Landing the Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, awaits trial, abandoned by all those she trusted; while in the eastern city of Yunkai her brother Tyrion has been sold as a slave. From the Wall, having left his wife and the Red Priestess Melisandre under the protection of Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon marches south to confront the Boltons at Winterfell. But beyond the Wall the wildling armies are massing for an assault…
On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all.
This entry probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, since I am part way through the book from last month. I’ve read about 140 pages so far, so I’ve made decent progress… but also a good way to go too. I’m such a fan of the series that I don’t find these difficult to read. Some long and complicated books can feel like a bit of a slog, but A Game of Thrones is an old friend to me at this point. I can pick them up and put them down really easily as I know so much about the plot, characters etc from earlier reads and the TV show, that it’s not new content to learn. Finishing this second part will complete my re-read of the series, which has been long overdue.
Vanessa Sawyer knows all about pain. She’s felt it every day since marrying the boy who fathered her baby in high school. All he’s meant are broken bones, broken heart and broken dreams. But he also brought her the love of her life. When her son Wren was born, her baby boy was her salvation.
Vanessa watches Wren grow and become a young man she can be proud of. Until one night everything changes, including Wren. One night that her son refuses to speak of. Now Vanessa can’t rest, not until she uncovers the secret that her son has been hiding from her.
Will she find the answers she’s searching for or will her quest for the truth take her to a dark place where all hope is lost?
One evil act. One tragedy. Lives destroyed forever.
Although I have a reduced TBR, I am taking part in a blog tour this month. Just the one. I loved the sound of Never Ever Tell and from what I’ve read about it, the book contains some pretty mature themes. If you don’t like reading about domestic violence or rape then you probably don’t want to read either this book or my review of it on the 22nd June. The last book I read on the topic of rape actually made my Top Reads of 2019 list, so I have high hopes I’ll enjoy this one!
Welcome to Whitby, the quaint, magical town on the sea. Its ruined Abbey watches over from the East Cliff, broken and long since abandoned. However a magic within watches over Darcy Colben and his friends – the Chimeborn.
Born in the witching hour of midnight and gifted with magical sight, Chimeborn can see the Abbey for what it really is. A centuries old academy for their kind, and home to the Council of Chime. The power of Saint Hilda still resides in Whitby and this power has been shattered among the modern Chimeborn. A battle brews for control of the ancient magic, and sides will need to be chosen by all.
Ideal for strong young readers, and an enjoyable story up to young adult, this tale of power and growing up will leave you desperate to explore the shores of the north-east of England and find the magic for yourself.
A long time ago I reviewed Daniel Curry’s first book, The Kitsune in the Lantern and really enjoyed it. His books are aimed at readers far younger than I am, but I don’t care, I enjoyed it anyway! Chimeborn is the start of a new series and I’m looking forward to reading the book and letting you know my thoughts.
Chimeborn has been on my review request list for a little while, and I figured a light, short read is the sort of thing I need right now! The synopsis sounds great and on a good night, I can probably read it in one sitting – two tops!
The enemy is massing on the borders, a united force for once.
The king, a man of many victories, is in failing health, and his heir is an untested youth.
Uthred, the king’s champion, leads his country’s forces to war, but his victory is soured by personal tragedy and by the envy of the king’s court. So he breaks with the king and takes off for the land of his birth, determined to resist all calls for his return. That is, until one unexpected request…
This is the making of England brought magnificently to life by the master of historical fiction.
The Burning Land is the fifth Saxon’s Stories novel by Bernard Cornwell. This series has fast become a favourite of mine; I love the characters and the setting, and it’s well written and entertaining too!
I’ll be happy if I round off the month having started but not finished this book. Like I said, i don’t want to take on too much. I’m already well acquainted with the series so I should be able to jump in nice and easily, despite not picking up the series for just over a year!
That’s my reading list for June folks! Have you read any of these books? Do any catch your eye? Let me know in the comments!