Month: September 2021

Book Review: Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

It’s been a little while since I shared a book review with you all. So, today’s post is to share my thoughts on Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.

I am a huge fan, and I really wanted to try this first book of The Reckoners series. To date, I haven’t found a book of Sanderson‘s I don’t like. Maintaining a record like that is a challenge and a very big expectation to live up to. But Steelheart did not disappoint!

 

Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Steelheart

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

 

My Thoughts…

When I picked up Steelheart I was safe in the knowledge that I was going to enjoy this book. Not only is Brandon Sanderson becoming one of my favourite authors, but it’s also a genre that I go to again and again! Where fantasy is normally filled with classic tropes and repetitive storylines, I don’t find this at all with Brandon Sanderson‘s writing. It has always amazed me how varied his different narratives and series are. He has so many of them and yet manages to keep them all unique in their own way. They all have similarities in that some form of magic is involved, but the similarities end there!

I enjoyed the narrative of Steelheart as the book is written from the perspective of an underground organisation plotting and killing Epics. Brandon Sanderson builds this epic world over which his ‘superheroes’ (turned overlords) preside, but we get to see the gritty, dark side of things. The world is not perfect with this power. Those who wield it are corrupted. The Reckoners, trying to stop them, hide in the shadows… the dark underbelly of cities. There is something about an author who builds such a fantastic world, to then base the story out of the ‘worst’ parts of it and pull it off.

The Reckoners are the key to the story and as a group, they have a great dynamic. I really enjoyed each individual character and personally, I loved their geekiness. The technology they’ve been able to build with next to no resources is phenomenal and their determination is something else entirely. Who else would think to take on the equivalent of a superhero and win? These guys… and boy, do they do it with style!

I really enjoyed the ending of this book. I wasn’t sure how the book was going to be wrapped up, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. It was action-packed, very cleverly done and I don’t think I could’ve asked for any better! And the best bit is, it’s not even over yet! With additional books in the series, there is plenty of scope to take this further and I can guarantee you that I will be picking these up! Equally, I think you could read Steelheart as a standalone if you really wanted to. But why would you want to when it’s just this good?!

Have you read Steelheart, or does my review make you want to consider reading it? Let me know in the comments!

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Sunday Summary – 12th September 2021

Welcome back to my regular Sunday Summary update post. I didn’t share an update with you last week as there wasn’t much to tell. My sister and her boyfriend Chris came over for a visit and so consequently, I took a break from both reading and blogging for the time they were over.

I have been back since the beginning of this week, however, and I’ve already shared a couple of posts with you. With not sharing my regular Sunday Summary update, you didn’t know what I had planned. However, sharing my Monthly Wrap-Up for August shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise. I would’ve shared this the week prior if not for their visit, and it’s a post I’ve been sharing at the beginning of each month since the beginning of this year. Reading progress was better in July, but I’m still happy with what I managed to read in August. I’m now getting back into the swing of reading more regularly and that habit has continued throughout August!

Later in the week, I shared a First Lines Friday post; this week’s featured book has just been published and I’m excited to give this a go! It’s written by an author I have come to love. Whilst the genre is a little out of my comfort zone, for this author I’m willing to give it a try anyway.

 

Books Read

I could not be happier with this week’s reading progress! Considering I practically didn’t pick up a book for the whole of the week prior, I’ve certainly made up for it this week. As of my last Sunday Summary update I was around halfway through Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. I’m pleased to say that I finished this yesterday. When you take into consideration that my edition of this book is 766 pages long, you can already see that reading half the book in just less than a week is already a lot of reading!

Well, we don’t end there. After finishing the book I decided I wanted something a little lighter to pick up next. I don’t mean that just in terms of size either. I love that the later books of the series have a darker side, but in contrast I wanted something significantly more lighthearted as a break. Don’t forget, I read both Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix one after the other. So, with that in mind, I remembered a recent recommendation by my boss to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. It was just what I needed; so much so, I managed to read this in one sitting!

Lastly, I picked up my third book of the week this morning. I wanted to continue with the slightly lighter tone, however move away from narratives aimed at children. After combing through my to be read list, I settled on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. If I recall correctly, I think I’m around 15% of the way through this book at the moment. Again, I’m really enjoying the lighter side of the book as the narrative is in itself quite humorous. But, the book also has a lot to offer in terms of insight into mental health as well, which is really interesting at the same time!

 

Books Discovered

Over the last couple of weeks, it’s fair to say I’ve fallen off the wagon a little. I feel like I’ve added quite a few books to my list. I have managed to take a few off as well, but if I’m entirely honest I think I breakeven at best.

The first book added to my list in the last couple of weeks is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. This recommendation actually came to me from my sister’s boyfriend Chris. He has just read the book himself and after telling me about it, he very kindly left his copy with me to borrow.

The second book added was also the featured book shared in my First Lines Friday post this week. As I’ve said, I’ve come to love Jay Kristoff, in particular his Nevernight series. When I saw a post this week about his new release, Empire of the Vampire, I knew I had to give it a go. Based on the introduction I shared in that post, I am more convinced than ever that taking a little step out of my comfort zone will pay off.

Lastly, I added one more book to my list today after being introduced to it by my mum. She mentioned that she had just ordered this new release and I think it has a lot to offer. As I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, it was 20 years ago yesterday that the world changed forever. The 9/11 attacks are unforgettable recent history, and the book my mum introduced to me, Ordinary Heroes, is written by the first FDNY chief on the scene on that fateful day. Having recently watched a documentary offering insight into the attacks from the perspective of those on the ground at the time, this memoir can definitely shed new light on the widely publicised event, but in more intimate detail. I’m a firm believer that we can learn from our history; that’s why I enjoy reading it so much.

 

Coming Up…

I feel like it has been a little while since I’ve shared a book review with you all, and so my plan for this week is to share my thoughts on Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. Brandon Sanderson is probably my second favourite author of all time. He is the kind of author that I could pick any of his books up and it wouldn’t matter – I’d love it regardless! He is a fantastic writer and to date, all the books of his I’ve read, I rated five stars. Steelheart is no exception! I loved the narrative and the action, and I feel sure I will continue with the series before too long. I read this first book back in 2020 and so my review is certainly overdue.

Later in the week, I will be sharing my next Shelf Control post. Having added no less than three books to the to be read pile, I should certainly get back to checking what else is on the list and making sure it’s still relevant to my reading taste!

That’s all for me vote this week. I hope you enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary update and I look forward to seeing you in the next post!

What have you been reading this week? Do you have any good recommendations?

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First Lines Friday – 10/09/2021

Hi guys and welcome to my First Lines Friday post!

I was supposed to share a First Lines Friday post with you a couple of weeks ago. However, I got busy and before I knew it, it was late on Friday evening and I hadn’t even started planning the post. Well, never mind that now – because I’m here today to share with you a fantastic book that I think you will love! It is written by an author that I have come to love and has just been published within the last couple of days. If you read my blog and are familiar with recent releases, you may be able to guess today’s book.

Even if you don’t recognise it from the clues above, I hope you enjoy today’s extract.

 

“It all started with a rabbit hole,” Gabriel said.

The Last Silversaint stared into that flickering lantern flame as if into faces long dead. A hint of red smoke still bruised the air, and he could hear each thread in the lanterns wick burning to a different tune. The years passed between them then and now seemed only minutes to his mind, alight with rushing bloodhymn.

“It strikes me as funny,” he sighed, “looking back on it all. There is a pile of ash behind me so high it could touch the sky. Cathedrals in flames and cities in ruins and graves overflowing with the pious and wicked, and that’s where it truly began. He shook his head in wonder. Just a little hole in the ground.

People will remember it different, of course. The soothsingers will harp about the Prophecy, and the priests will bleat on about the Almighty’s plan. But I never met a minstrel who wasn’t a liar, coldblood. Nor holy man who wasn’t a …”

 

Empire of the Vampire – Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Empire of the Vampire

From holy cup comes holy light;

The faithful hands sets world aright.

And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,

Mere man shall end this endless night.

It has been twenty-seven long years since the last sunrise. For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity; building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León is a silversaint: a member of a holy brotherhood dedicated to defending realm and church from the creatures of the night. But even the Silver Order couldn’t stem the tide once daylight failed us, and now, only Gabriel remains.

Imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Nevernight Chronicle, Jay Kristoff, comes the first book of an astonishing illustrated dark fantasy saga.

 

My Thoughts…

As a general rule, I wouldn’t say I’m a massive fan of vampire-related novels. However, I have read a couple of good ones and I’m certainly prepared to make an exception for Mr Kristoff!

I fell in love with his Nevernight series instantly and so I have high expectations for this book as well. It’s dark fantasy, which I love the idea of considering he pulled off Nevernight so well. He’s also indicated that it is definitely not a book for children. I like that it’s aimed at a more mature reader, although I know there’s going to be at least one scene in it that I’m not going to be a huge fan of. That being said, I’m willing to overlook it because I don’t want to miss out on the rest! You may have noticed that I’ve even omitted a word from today’s extract. For the sake of keeping my blog PG I’ve taken it out… but let’s just say it’s a certain four letter word beginning with C.

You know the one. If you don’t, you’re probably not meant to yet!

Some people might be put off by such language, but as someone who grew up learning the vocabulary of a sailor from a very young age, I certainly have no issues! I personally quite enjoy the crassness of it!

If you’re interested to read my thoughts on books I have already read by Jay Kristoff (his Nevernight series), you can check out my review of Nevernight here. Reviews for the later books are also available, but so I don’t share any potential spoilers accidentally, I’ve just linked my review to the first book of the series.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Are you excited for Empire of the Vampire?

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Monthly Wrap-Up – August 2021

After just over a week’s break from blogging to spend time with family, I’m back with my monthly wrap-up for August 2021. I appreciate this might feel a little late. Normally I would have shared this last week, but as my sister and her boyfriend were over visiting I decided to take the whole week off so I could enjoy my time with them fully!

However, I am back now and raring to go! I feel really good about the progress I made last month in terms of reading. Picking up a book is becoming a habit again. This has been a benefit to me; I can’t overstate how important it is to take time out for yourself. After a record reading year, as well as moving house and studying for work, I was done. It’s very easy to overlook maintaining a healthy balance – and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t do this last year. I scaled back this year to avoid burnout. The fact that I’m coming back and reading more regularly is a good sign that this has been effective.

 

Books Read

August‘s reading has been dominated by Harry Potter. Not only did I finish the fourth instalment of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but I also made significant progress with the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

If you’ve picked up or read either of these books, you’ll know they’re both chunky. As of the end of the month I was around halfway through HP and the Order of the Phoenix. That in its own right can equate to one or two books! It is a long one, but picking it up hasn’t been a challenge. Not only do I find the books really easy to read, but I don’t find their size intimidating. Maybe it’s because I’ve read them before, or because big books are my bag!

So it may not look like much progress on paper. But, given my recent track record, I’m really happy with how I’m progressing. In recent months picking up a book was something I had to do consciously. That might sound daft because I always do it consciously, but I had less motivation to do so. I wouldn’t say I quite had to talk myself into it, but it wasn’t a first instinct when asked what I wanted to do. Not only is that back, but I’m currently able to balance that with some other hobbies I’ve picked up along the way.

If you know me personally or follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the odd post here in there about knitting. In the absence of reading I’ve taken up this hobby. As you will see, I’ve come along way in a short space of time. For a time I think knitting became my substitute for reading. I needed something new and I do like a challenge! Now my interests are shifting to allow for both hobbies to coincide with each other… and that’s the kind of balance I like to see and I hope will continue! Here is my latest post on my Instagram feed me to give you an idea of the sort of things I’m doing right now: 

Blog Posts

In my monthly wrap-up posts I also like to share the blog posts that I have written and published during them up. That way, if you have missed any of my content and see something you like the look of, you will find a handy link here!

In addition to reading this month, I’ve also shared the following: – 

That’s all for me in today’s monthly wrap-up post for August.

Are there any good books you have picked up, or is there even something you’re currently reading that you would recommend? Have you picked up any new hobbies recently? Let me know in the comments!

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