Hi friends and welcome back to my usual Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a lovely weekend? Mine has been nice and relaxing, for the most part. Aside from catching up with the housework (always a fun job) and going to a charity “Night at the Races” event, it’s been a quiet one. Plenty of time for reading, anyhow.
Earlier in the week, I shared my reading list for August. I shared it earlier than usual as I had a blog tour scheduled on Thursday for Birth of the Mortokai by Desmond Palmer and a First Lines Friday post to round off the working week. Having remembered on Monday/Tuesday, I must confess that I very nearly forgot to draft and schedule my blog tour post! I’ve never had a last-minute panic like that before, nor do I want it again!! That was the only near-disaster of the week though.
I’ve also decided to put a little more pressure on myself to beat a personal best. The all-time record number of books I have read in one year is 60, achieved in 2017. I have been way above and beyond schedule to meet my target of 50 books by the end of the year. To that end, I’ve decided to increase it to 70 books. I’m still just about on schedule to meet that goal, but getting over 60 will be a win in my eyes regardless of hitting 70 or not.
I have lots of books to talk about – so I’ll try to keep each one brief.
I started the week with two reads carried over: Kau D’varza by David Noe and The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor. The Chalk Man was the first book I picked up and finished reading because it’s a lot shorter than Kau D’varza and frankly, I was HYPED about it! I think it’s one of my top reads of the year! Kau D’varza shortly followed, and after a few dedicated evenings to the book I could tick another sci-fi off the list!
Moving onwards, I’ve picked up another two books to read simultaneously for the latter end of the week. First and foremost, I have picked up Thran Book 1: The Birth by Brian McLaughlin. This is the first book on August’s TBR (since I didn’t get around to it in July) and at present, I am nearly 20% through the book. It’s quite a long one at 655 pages, but the world-building, characters and descriptions are fantastic!
On the side, I am also reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I have to say I haven’t read anything like it in my life. In a good way, it’s kinda weird. Keeping track of the murder and the guests/staff (and how they interact with others) at the Hardcastle estate is exciting. I’m nearly 40% through this read. I’m glad I allowed myself breathing room on the TBR to pick things up at will – I do enjoy some freedom in book choices.
I was hoping to say that I was finished listening to The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman, but I still have half an hour left to listen to. I think I’ll probably wrap up the evening with that once this Sunday Summary is posted. That way I can start afresh tomorrow. I’m torn between a couple of books and I currently have a poll on Twitter – can you help me decide what to listen to next?
Where I had a lot to talk about in the section above, I don’t actually have anything of note here this week! About chuffing right too – I wish I could spend all my money on books instead of bills…
Time to roll my sleeves up and devise next week’s plan (and hopefully remember it in good time…) Fortunately, I have no blog tours this week, so it wouldn’t be a disaster if I was a day late anyway.
I have a few backed up reviews to catch up on and this week, I want to share my thoughts about Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I finished reading this back in mid-May if that gives you an idea of how much I have to catch up on. Sword Song is the fourth book in the Last Kingdom / Saxon Stories series. I started reading them in 2017 and I always enjoy picking up the next book.
Since I added quite a few books to the TBR again recently I am going to sort through the next 10 on the list and see if there’s anything there I don’t want anymore. For my sanity’s sake I kinda hope so.
As usual, on Friday it’s the turn on my Shelf Control post. This week I am featuring a series as opposed to just one book! I can’t wait to share the details with you!
Top Blog Posts of the Week
In this section of my Sunday Summary post, I like to offer a quick nod to other amazing book bloggers by sharing some of the posts I really enjoyed reading! This week there is also another link to a bookish article published by the Telegraph. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have: –
Are you on the countdown to the weekend?! I sure am! I hope you are having a lovely day… whatever it is you are doing!
I’m back again with my regular fortnightly feature – First Lines Friday. It’s a fun way for you lovely readers to try something new, without the bias of a front cover or knowledge of the book before you read it!
So, shall we get on with today’s post? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book!
I am a coward.
I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending. I spent the first twelve years of my life playing at the Battle of the Stirling Bridge with my five big brothers, and even though I am a girl they let me be William Wallace, who is supposed to be one of our ancestors, because I did the most rousing battle speeches. God, I tried hard last week. My God, I tried. But now I know I am a coward. And I’m going to give you anything you ask, everything I can remember. Absolutely Every Last Detail.
Here is the deal we made. I’m putting it down to keep it straight in my own mind. ‘Let’s try this,’ the Hauptsturmführer said to me. ‘How could you be bribed?’ And I said I wanted my clothes back.
This was my last read of the year in 2017 and I couldn’t put it down! If you love historical novels and particularly enjoy books around World War II then this is completely for you. Much of the story is told as a written monologue by our main character. She is so human and so relatable you just want to sympathise with the awful position she is in – a prisoner of war. She is an incredibly strong lady though, the woman portrayed at the beginning is very different from the woman she proves to be.
The sequel is on my reading list (obviously!) and I can’t wait to see where her character can develop from here.
Do you recognise the excerpt or have an idea from the description what the book is? Let’s find out!
Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.
When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.
What do you think of the introduction to Code Name Verity? Have you read the book or added it your TBR?
I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about Birth of the Mortokai in today’s publication day push. All in all, I managed to read this book pretty quickly. It’s an approachable and enjoyable fantasy novel; my favourite thing about the book is its representation of minority individuals.
Before I jump into my full review, I’d just like to say a quick thank you to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!
Now with the formalities out of the way, let’s jump right in!
Daniel Welsh was born different—and to Daniel, to be different means to be alone. But what if he’s wrong?
Born an albino with a photographic memory, Daniel Welsh never expected to fit in. Yet, when he is approached by Trinity—a young girl who definitely isn’t human—she reveals a whole new world where he might just belong. Ariest is a place where his features aren’t a disability or the mark of a freak, but rather a trait of powerful mages born of human-faerie unions. His father is a renowned war hero and swordsman, his mother is a human doctor, and that makes him a powerful mage that’ll tip the scales. Magic is real—and so is the threat it brings.
Trinity and her father, a battle mage, aren’t the only ones to have discovered Daniel and his gifts hidden in the human realm.
The Shade have awakened.
Enemies to the fae realm long thought dead have been lying in wait for their moment to strike. Young mages like Daniel are the perfect morsel for their starving appetites and they start their killing spree without delay with the nearest unsuspecting mage boy. Daniel cannot sit idly by while monsters take innocent lives, so he will embrace a destiny he is only just beginning to understand… even if it means losing a life that’s finally worth living.
Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult coming of age fantasy adventure novel. Trigger warning: this novel contains descriptions of albinism, a real genetic disorder that affects 1/17,000 persons worldwide per year.
Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult, coming of age novel. Our main character has gone through a lot even before the story begins. As I mentioned above, my favourite element of the book is that our main character has albinism. This is so rare that I have never come across it before. I think it’s great that the author chose to represent a minority group. The nature of the novel celebrates the way in which it makes Daniel different from others. I love how positive the book is about this character and his uniqueness.
A lot of people will relate to Daniel’s position of being subjected to bullying, singling out and made not to fit in at school. It’s all too common (kids are cruel), but he has within him a resilience that can be admired. This makes him a very likeable character and his progress of discovering himself is something we as a reader want to invest into with him.
Aside from Daniel, there are plenty of characters to help him discover himself and his magical abilities. Fairies, boggarts and powerful mages burst into his normal life and he is swept off his feet (quite literally) into a new world. With his natural instincts and a few friends made along the way, Daniel faces a threat he never knew existed. Clutching to the knowledge he has acquired, courtesy of his photographic memory, he is the linchpin in fighting back against a growing darkness – the Shade.
The pace of the novel is comfortable. It’s easy to read, yet equally, there is plenty of action and new discoveries driving the narrative. At 246 pages, Birth of the Mortokai is a relatively short fantasy novel to delve into. Considering its length compared to other fantasy novels, I wouldn’t say there are any compromises in the structure or plot. The author alludes to a well-established world history and the descriptions are immersive.
I’m hoping to read more of Daniel’s adventures and training to fulfil his potential as the mage he was born to be.
Currently residing in London, England, D.G. Palmer writes in the Spec Fiction genre, using his imagination to create vivid worlds and captivating characters.
An avid reader and player of video games, in the past, he was part of table top roleplaying groups where he nurtured his storytelling by penning several story arcs.
Feel free to follow him on Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram. If you wish to receive updates about his latest books, event dates and other exclusive news, sign up to The World of D.G. Palmer and enter his mind. He warns it can be a mess sometimes, so make sure you wipe your feet on the way out – you never know what you might take with you.
It’s unusual for me to be drafting and publishing my reading list for August so early. Since I have a couple of other blog posts already lined up in the first couple of days in the month, I felt publishing it a couple of days early was better than nearly a week late.
After having such a productive month in June, I oversubscribed a little in July. Three books on the list had over 500 pages each, and the other two probably made up another 500 between them. I think I would have been alright if I had been in a reading mood more often. I didn’t allow for giving myself time to chill and do something else. But, hey ho, I’d rather not burn out in the long run. Does it matter if I take a break and read a book in the last week of one month or the first week of the next? Not really.
Anyway – onwards and upwards! Let’s crack on with the list for August!
Set in the mythical world of Thran, a young warrior named Brutal Mixnor sets out on an adventure to uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious disappearance after a battle years earlier. Some longtime friends and new acquaintances join him in his search, each with their own reasons for braving the danger-filled wilds of the Cruel Pass. Follow the young adventurers and watch as their powers grow, along with the strength of the enemies they encounter. Discover the complex, imperfect, characters of all races, comprising the full spectrum of alignments (good, neutral, and evil) that weave their way into and out of the story, leaving their mark on the reader as the world of Thran is pushed towards cataclysmic war and suffering. For readers familiar with the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons(R), Thran Book I: The Birth will feel like a warm wave of nostalgia washing over you, and the unfamiliar will get a glimpse of what it’s like to be immersed into the heart of an adventure that transports you into a world where magic abounds and almost anything is possible, but nothing is certain. Visit https: //www.worldofthran.com/ to learn more about the world of Thran, including: character portraits, the world map, the pantheon of deities, and more!
I picked up a copy of this fantasy novel via Voracious Readers Only and I didn’t get the chance to pick it up last month, as intended. It’s the first book I’ll be picking up this month, however. I’ve had a very brief look at it – the first couple of pages really, and I’m optimistic that it will be an enjoyable read!
Just when you think you’ve figured it all out, you’ll learn how wrong you’ve been.
What started out as a normal art restoration project for Melinda Martin soon took on a life of its own. Could this unusual painting actually be a Botticelli masterpiece thought to have perished as part of Savonarola’s Bonfire of the Vanities? Had Melinda’s friend, Lara, a well-known art picker inadvertently acquired stolen art; art that might have ties to the occult and worth millions? Did a bad business decision endanger everyone who touched this potential treasure?
When the painting disappears and both women are found dead, the police think it’s an open and shut case. The husband – it’s always the husband. He had means, motive, and opportunity, and acted strangely cold after the fact.
Is it a case of mistaken identity? Does a secret relationship put Mr. Martin in the crosshairs of an assassin sent to retrieve the painting? Or is he really a sociopath forger with mysterious ties to the Vatican?
Two sides of the same coin. Completely alike. Completely different.
I’m on another blog tour for one of K. J. McGillick’s books! Having read and enjoyed no less than four other books of hers already, I’m now going to be reviewing Duality for the upcoming tour. At this point, I will auto-accept tours for, or buy, her books. I think that says how much I like them…
Three parks, three deaths, four victims, two grieving families, one murder enquiry team and an unknown number of killers. Can an answer be found? Whitechapel is being gentrified, the many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquillity and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder. Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looked as it the inspector was already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with her head bashed in, down to a mugging `gone wrong’. The victim deserved more. But the inspector isn’t ruling anyone out; the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer…
I am also taking part in a blog tour for The Fourth Victim this month. I was already looking forward to the book based on the genre and synopsis, but my impromptu read of The Chalk Man (and LOVING it!) has got me all the more excited to read more books in the thriller genre.
Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.
Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.
But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.
A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.
Starting my Shelf Control series recently has got me thinking about how much of a backlist I have. It’s ridiculously long and I need to do something about it. So, here we are! This is the oldest item on the TBR; by the end of the month I’m hoping to be able to tick it off the list!
I have read a few books by Brandon Sanderson and really enjoyed them all, so I have no doubts about picking another of his books up at all.
So, only four books on the list this month. I am very aware that a couple of these are quite long, so I’m trying to take the pressure off. I would like to read more, but I’ll play it by ear. I may get the chance to pick up another impromptu book month and actually have time for it without sacrificing something else…
Today’s Sunday Summary post comes to you on a bit of a miserable day to end a gorgeous week. Let’s make the best of it, shall we?
I took full advantage of having a much-needed week off work and got plenty of reading done! As well as catching up on my reading (which I definitely needed!) I published three midweek posts for you. Conscious that it has been a while since I last looked at my TBR, I published another Down the TBR Hole post. I managed to take three books off the list in that post. Of course, I’ve added even more books to the list since then… I need help, okay!
On Thursday I shared my review of Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I really enjoyed the change of genre and reading a novel that blends Liverpool’s history into a gothic narrative.
Finally, on Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. This week I showcased the third oldest book on my TBR list; it’s a fantasy novel with an intriguing spy/mystery element to it.
I have spent the majority of the week desperately trying to finish part one of A Dance with Dragons. I really love these books but man, they are so long! At the top of the week I felt like I was behind in the month’s reading. I suppose I still am, but I feel in a much better position now. I finally managed to finish the book after chipping away at it for several days. I’m nearly through my re-read of the series now!
Next, I was quick to start reading Kau D’Varza by David Noe. After working with David and reviewing Seeker previously, I was keen to delve back into the Chaosnova universe and enjoy reading some science fiction again. I started the book on Friday evening and by the end of yesterday, I made it nearly halfway through the 500-page book!
Getting so far, I decided I wanted to pick another book up as well. I have read a lot of fantasy lately and having had a brief look at the last book on my list, it didn’t feel like a book I could juggle with others all that well. So, I confess, I’ve gone off on a tangent and picked up something else completely not on the list. I don’t feel bad at all; it’s proven the breath of fresh air I’ve needed. The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor is brilliant! I started reading it last night and I’m already around two-thirds of the way through it. I can’t leave it alone, so the goal is to finish it tomorrow at the latest!
Lastly, I managed to make the progress I hoped to with my audiobook, The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman. Despite being off work, there were a few journeys in the car to meet a friend or go shopping that gave me the opportunity to continue listening to the story. With any luck, I’ll be telling you that I’ve finished it next week!
I felt proud of myself for taking three books off my ridiculously long TBR on Monday, however, that was short-lived.
I’ve only gone and added five more to the list. I can’t even apologise to myself because I don’t feel guilty! Here is a list of the books I’ve added and how I acquired them: –
Imaginary Friend – Netgalley download by taking part in promo for the new book
The One Hundred Nights of Hero – Added having read a fab review – link in Top Posts section below
The Exact Opposite of Okay – Added having read a fab review – but forgot to copy the link. I’m an idiot
Scouse Gothic 2 – Sent to me by the author having toured with the first book of the series
Circe – Purchased because it sounds amazing!
In addition to buying Circe, I also bought a copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. That’s been on the TBR for a while though, so it doesn’t strictly count as “new”.
So, what’s coming up on my blog next week? Whenever I ask myself this question, the first answer is ‘absolutely no idea’. That’s the truth. It’s at the point of writing this post that I make that plan.
Typically I share my reading list in the first few days of the month in question, however, due to my existing schedule I’m actually going to publish it early – on Tuesday 30th.
On Thursday I’ll be sharing my review of a recent read – Birth of the Mortokai by D G Palmer as part of the upcoming tour for the book. I really enjoyed the storyline centred around a character with a unique trait – albinism. Anyway, I won’t go into detail here… I’ll save it for my review!
On Friday it’s the turn of my First Lines Friday post. I have no idea which book I’ll feature this week, so it’s as much a surprise for you as it is me right now.
Top Blog Posts of the Week
In this section of my Sunday Summary post I like to offer a quick nod to other amazing book bloggers by sharing some of the posts I really enjoyed reading! This week there is also another link to a bookish article published by the Telegraph. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I have: –
Welcome back to my new regular feature post, Shelf Contol! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It is 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.
Shelf Control, for me, is about looking in more detail about the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I get the chance to talk about why I want to keep them in more detail and it acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.
It’s week three, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR! I added today’s featured book back in January 2015 – over four years ago still. I’m seriously going to have to work on this backlog…
City of Stairs (The Divine Cities #1) – Robert Jackson Bennett
The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.
Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.
But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.
A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.
So, I’m still sticking to my fantasy routes with this particular book. I have a lot of fantasy books at the beginning of my TBR. That was all I used to read. I am far more genre diverse now, thanks to my blog more than anything. Fantasy will always be my greatest love though.
There is huge potential for a lot of world-building in this novel. Clearly, the world and society are very unlike our own. Reading is a form of escapism for me. If I don’t feel like there is enough detail or I don’t understand the fictional world I am delving into, I don’t enjoy it. Sounds geeky, I know. How successfully an author can put together a fictional world is a huge part of whether I enjoy a book.
What makes City of Stairs stand out is the spy and mystery element of the story. In addition to fantasy I also really enjoy novels with a mystery to be solved within them. This genre crossover isn’t something I see every day, so I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.
Have you read City of Stairs or any other books in the series? What did you make of it?
Good morning everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely day. I am really excited to be taking part in the blog tour by reviewing Scouse Gothic by Ian McKinney! The tour has been organised by the lovely Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources.
As always, my reviews are completely honest and the views expressed within are entirely my own.
Once you have checked out my review, don’t forget to check out the details of a UK only giveaway being run by the author!
Scouse Gothic (Book 1) ‘The Pool of Life..and Death’
Melville wakes with a pounding headache – there had been too many hangovers recently, but this felt different. What had he been drinking last night? Then he remembered – it was blood.
Enter the bizarre world of Scouse Gothic where a reluctant vampire mourns a lost love and his past lives, where a retired ‘hitman’ plans one more killing and dreams of food, and a mother sets out to avenge her son’s murder, and , meanwhile, a grieving husband is visited by an angry angel.
Set in present day Liverpool, vampires and mortals co-exist, unaware of each other’s secrets and that their past and present are inextricably linked.
But as their lives converge, who will be expected to atone for past sins?
The contemporary setting of Scouse Gothic isn’t the sort of thing I would typically pick up; however, I really enjoyed the book because it made a change to my usual reading habits. Liverpool is a common haunt for us Manxies escaping the rock for a day or two. It’s a fabulous city to explore, whether you are looking for shopping or cultural history. In Scouse Gothic, we get to explore plenty of the latter.
Melville, a vampire currently living in Liverpool gives us a lot of insight into the city’s earlier days though reminiscing on his earlier life. Throughout the book, he frequently compares and contrasts the city’s developments throughout time, particularly since the bombing blitz in World War II.
There are a number of different characters in Scouse Gothic; the contrasts between them add a lot of humour to the tale. Melville is quite a serious character, at least in terms of himself. Sheryl couldn’t be more different. Made up as any Liverpool bird could be, she is as large as life and full of personality. Not what you would expect of a vampire at all. The clash of expectation vs reality… the fact that she doesn’t truly fit in with the gothic style of the novel makes her a standout and highly amusing character.
The narrative touches on a number of people’s individual stories, seemingly unlinked at first. A degree of each of their back story is introduced to us in conjunction with the main storyline, so as not to overwhelm the reader. Gradually, as events unfold, they each find themselves pulled together to an epic, high tension conclusion.
Ian was born and bred in Liverpool but left for university in the 1980’s when the city appeared to be in a terminal decline. After qualifying he worked in London and Essex before finally settling in Shropshire with his wife and daughter.
However a set of circumstances meant that he returned to live in the city once more. What he found was a modern vibrant city. The derelict buildings from his youth had been restored and repurposed. A dock was now a tourist attraction, a church was now a night club, a gaol now a hotel.
It was then that he had the idea for Melville a vampire who had known the city in its prime and had now returned to it. Initially the story of Melville was written as a short story, but the more Ian explored the city the more he realised there were many more tales to tell than just Melville’s. That was when the idea for Scouse Gothic was born.
The first book ‘A Pool of Life ..and Death’, was very well received and has now been followed by a further two books. Ian continues to spend his time between Liverpool and Shropshire and is currently working on two further projects.
*Terms and Conditions –UK 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.
Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in todays Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –
Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?
THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story is of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.
The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.
I really enjoyed learning about the history of America at school, in particular the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Great Gatsby is a classic novel too, and I really want to read more of them (you’ll see this is a theme in this Down the TBR Hole post). This is definitely staying on the list!
Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic-a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.
In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.
Anyone who reads my blog will know that I am a huge fan of anything historical. I tend to read more historical fiction if anything. Again, this is another one of those popular classics and I have to read it. It will be far more harrowing than any fiction novel because I know it was real. I’m sure I’ll cry – is any other reaction appropriate?
August, 1914. The Germans have occupied Louvain in Belgium.
Among the refugees fleeing the city is Julian Hydon, a young Jesuit priest. But when he witnesses the brutal roadside killing of a scholastic, Eugene Dupierreux, Hydon determines to join the war as an Army Chaplain. But his sense of mission turns to disillusion, doubt and anger after spending time with a boy named Andy West who suffers the fate of a court martial.
Bent on experiencing the pleasure of a woman and becoming a ‘man’ before he dies, Andy warns Hydon he is about to sin and seeks absolution. Hydon is uncertain how to counsel the boy and feels his own faith slipping. But when the boy is found guilty of desertion, Hydon must accompany him to his execution.
Outraged and struck by the futility of the war, Hydon publicly criticises the sentence, entangles himself with the deserter’s girlfriend, and is rejected by the Army and the Church. Banished to England, Hydon wanders purposely from mission to mission. He is posted first at a hospital for the wounded near his home and then at Pentonville prison, resigned to comforting the souls of the damned. But something is missing. Hydon feels useless and wants to be back on the frontline, aiding the war effort.
Being handed a white feather on the train by a self-righteous lady on the train is the last straw. Isolated Hydon seeks redemption in anonymity and battle for one last time.
‘A Land of Shades’ is an unusual and gripping story of the Great War as told by a young Jesuit priest who struggles to retain his faith in the face of brutality and violence.
Historical fiction is another theme to this TBR. I must have been going through a phase at the time I added these books to the list! I knew that this book was my cup of tea when I saw it, so I already have the e-book ready and waiting for me. It’s a small part of our world history, but one I enjoy reading all the same.
Stewart Scott is a first year trainee in one of Edinburgh’s oldest law firms.
Out of his depth, he is constantly working just to stay in the game and match the talents of the other first year trainees. But a chance to shine comes Stewart’s way when he is given the opportunity to partake in an investigation.
A client of the firm has recently died. The deceased, Major Robertson, left a substantial estate, and the terms of his will stipulate that his considerable wealth will go to his family – unless the Major died by suicide, whereupon his estate will be donated to a charity. And the conclusion, thus far, has been suicide.
Heading up the investigation into the Major’s death is Sebastian Dakar, practicing Zen master and the most unlikely detective that Stewart could imagine. But upon their arrival at the Major’s family home, Stewart begins to realise that perhaps the case of the Major isn’t as cut and dried as first thought.
Occasionally I like to take a break from my usual reads, and this short and snappy legal-based novel will be a great way of doing just that! I won a copy of this book in a competition/giveaway run on Instagram by the author last year. It’s currently sat on my bookshelf in the hall. Next time I need a quick read, I could always pick this up. I really enjoyed the short stories I read last month.
The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Cinderella” would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezso.
From “The Frog King” to “The Golden Key,” wondrous worlds unfold–heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique–they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms’ later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes’s introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms’ prefaces and notes.
A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers.
When I received a copy of this for my birthday (on request), a few people were a little bemused as to why I would want it. Yes, okay, it’s children’s stories, but not the ones we know and love today. These are the originals written over 200 years ago before they were revised and adapted. They include parts that never made it to the popular children’s tales we tell now. This particular edition also touches on the historical influences in some of the stories.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .
The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.
I tried to read this years ago when I borrowed it (for what I hope are obvious reasons?). I struggled then and if I’m honest, I’ll think I’ll struggle again. It’s not really my thing. Yes, it has elements of genres I enjoy, like horror, but the romance puts me off. It’s a classic and I added it to the TBR for that reason. I don’t want to force myself to read books I don’t think I’ll enjoy though.
Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray – he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants – Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.
With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote generally has been recognized as the first modern novel. The book has had enormous influence on a host of writers, from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who reread it once a year, “just as some people read the Bible.”
And again, we have a work of classical fiction. I am relatively sure I added it to the list having read a fellow bloggers review of it. In hindsight though, I don’t think this is my cup of tea either.
It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, and those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.
Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern-day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth-century France. It’s book one of the Hellequin Chronicles, a series about Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a centuries-old sorcerer.
Whilst I like fantasy novels, I always approach Urban Fantasy with a degree of scepticism.
I read fantasy novels as a means of escapism. Having the modern-day setting to these novels makes it a little harder for me to achieve that. It might sound completely daft to you, but there you have it. I’m not 100% sure about this one, so I’ll take it off the list.
‘Crime? What crime?…My killing a loathsome, harmful louse, a filthy old moneylender woman…and you call that a crime?’
Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.
This vivid translation by David McDuff has been acclaimed as the most accessible version of Dostoyevsky’s great novel, rendering its dialogue with a unique force and naturalism.
This is a classic that is definitely staying on my list! It’s one of the first (and few) I bought as a reward for meeting a monthly savings goal – the larger goal being a deposit for my (now recently purchased) new car! I set myself a tough target so there are only a couple of months that I managed to not dip into the savings. I bought this because the synopsis is interesting… and it’s a classic. I’m trying to read more of those.
John Grisham’s five novels — A Time To Kill, The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, and The Chamber — have been number one best-sellers, and have a combined total of 47 million copies in print. Now, inThe Rainmaker, Grisham returns to the courtroom for the first time since A Time To Kill, and weaves a riveting tale of legal intrigue and corporate greed. Combining suspense, narrative momentum, and humor as only John Grisham can, this is another spellbinding read from the most popular author of our time.
Grisham’s sixth spellbinding novel of legal intrigue and corporate greed displays all of the intricate plotting, fast-paced action, humor, and suspense that have made him the most popular author of our time. In his first courtroom thriller since A Time To Kill, John Grisham tells the story of a young man barely out of law school who finds himself taking on one of the most powerful, corrupt, and ruthless companies in America — and exposing a complex, multibillion-dollar insurance scam. In his final semester of law school Rudy Baylor is required to provide free legal advice to a group of senior citizens, and it is there that he meets his first “clients,” Dot and Buddy Black. Their son, Donny Ray, is dying of leukemia, and their insurance company has flatly refused to pay for his medical treatments. While Rudy is at first skeptical, he soon realizes that the Blacks really have been shockingly mistreated by the huge company, and that he just may have stumbled upon one of the largest insurance frauds anyone’s ever seen — and one of the most lucrative and important cases in the history of civil litigation. The problem is, Rudy’s flat broke, has no job, hasn’t even passed the bar, and is about to go head-to-head with one of the best defense attorneys — and powerful industries — in America.
I am yet to read any of John Grisham’s novels, but I have heard a lot of good things about his writing. I know work colleagues that regularly read his books, so I definitely want to give them a go. Also, do I want to watch how one man challenges a huge corporation and cross my fingers that he gives it to them good? Yes, yes I do.
Once again that’s three out of ten books that I have dropped from the list. At least I know I have a reasonable idea of what I like to read and I’m not *too* impulsive when it comes to adding books to the TBR. Okay, that’s a complete lie!
Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?
This week’s Sunday Summary post promises to be far more chilled out than last week! I’m back to my manageable three posts per week schedule, and damn it feels good! I’ve also had the luxury of a few days ‘break’, which has been refreshing. In aid of mum’s birthday on Friday, my sister has been over for the weekend. We’ve had a lovely few days to spend together as a family. The timing has been fortunate as my sister has also been able to wish our aunt a happy birthday in person today too! So, for the second time this week I’m sending out birthday wishes here on my blog, this time to my aunt!
So, what have I been up to this week? Aside from picking up the office cold and spending the weekend with my family, things have been pretty run-of-the-mill. I’m back on my usual posting schedule which takes a lot of pressure off. On Tuesday I posted a review of A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. It was tough (for reasons I explain in that post), but let’s be honest… I could talk about A Game of Thrones until your ears fell off. On Friday I published my scheduled First Lines Friday post. This week’s featured book is by an author that I love for a completely different historical fiction series he has written.
Birth of the Mortokai was the first book I picked up this week. I had read a third of the book at the time of writing last week’s Sunday Summary post; it didn’t take too long to finish. By that, I mean I finished it on Monday.
From there I started reading A Dance with Dragons pt 1: Dreams and Dust. This is what I have been reading for the rest of the week. Since I have had a few other bits on, I’m around 180 pages through with it at the moment. I’ll be picking this up again before bed tonight and I’m hoping to finish this next week. Under normal circumstances, this would be a little ambitious. I have the week off work though, so I’m sure this is achievable!
For the first time in weeks, I have started listening to another audiobook. I was torn between a couple I have waiting to be listened to, however, I decided to venture into unknown waters. I’ve began listening to Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke. This isn’t too long a tale; I’m already around 40% through and it’ll take another four hours to finish. Despite being off work I reckon I can get at least another two hours down by next week.
I have been reasonably good this week. Strictly speaking, I haven’t added any new books to the TBR or bought any. I have entered a competition to win an ARC copy of Stephen Chbosky’s new novel Imaginary Friend today. I’ll let you know if I manage to get my hands on a copy!
In light of the fact that I am off work next week, I’ve decided I’ll be ambitious and try to write four blog posts next week. It’s busy, but not a mad schedule.
I’m going to kick off the week by taking another look at the lengthy TBR. It’s been a while since my last Down the TBR Hole post. I’m past overdue checking out the next ten books on the list and deciding whether they should stay or go… so that’s what I’ll do!
I’m really looking forward to taking part in the blog tour of Scouse Gothic by Ian KcKinney on Thursday. The novel is completely different to anything I have read before. I can’t wait to share my full thoughts on the book in Thursday’s post.
Friday’s regular feature flits back to Shelf Control. I started this series by going right back to the beginning of my TBR. Shelf Control differs from Down the TBR Hole as instead of a large scale, general look at the books on the list, I’ll be picking on one and going into more detail about why it’s on the list.
Top Blog Posts of the Week
As always in this section of the post, I like to share some blog posts I have really enjoyed reading by sharing the links with you all. I hope there is something here that you will enjoy reading too: –
Not only is today one of the best days of the week because it’s Friday – it’s also my mum’s birthday! Not only that, but my sister has come to the visit and celebrate with us for the weekend! I’m really looking forward to spending the time together with them – it’s not very often we are all together nowadays.
So, if you are reading this, Happy Birthday Mum! You really are one in a million!
I’m back again with my new regular fortnightly feature – First Lines Friday. I’ve seen this post on many a blog and I think it’s a fun way to try something new, without the bias of a front cover or knowledge of the book before you try it!
So, shall we get on with today’s post? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book!
I died just after the clock in the passageway struck nine.
There are those who claim that Her Majesty, Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France and of Ireland, will not allow clocks to strike the hour in her palaces. Time is not allowed to pass for her. She has defeated time. But that clock struck. I remember it.
I counted nine bells. Nine. Then my killer stuck.
And I died.
My brother says there is only one way to tell a story. ‘Begin,’ he says in his irritatingly pedantic manner, ‘at the beginning. Where else?’
I see I have started a little too late, so we shall go back to five minutes before nine, and begin again.
The main influence behind this book purchase is the author. I have read, adored and reviewed a few of his other historical fiction works. What sets this book apart from his other series I am reading is that it is a completely different period of history. Set in Elizabethan England, it’s a far cry from the blood and battles of the Viking era.
Have you any inkling what today’s book is?
Fools and Mortals – Bernard Cornwell
A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.
Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.
Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.
What do you think of the introduction to Fools and Mortals? Doesn’t it suck you in and make you want to read on? If I didn’t have such a busy TBR I would be so tempted!
Have you read the book or added it your TBR? As always, I would love to hear from you!!