Author: fantasyst95

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Hey guys and welcome back to another review post! I’ve already reviewed one book (audiobook) this week and I’m back again in an effort to catch up with the number of reviews I need to write! Today’s review is going to be a joy to write because I absolutely loved this book! In fact, I loved the whole series! I wouldn’t describe myself as a binge reader particularly, but I read this series really quickly by my standards. I read this on holiday in October last year and I read the remaining two books in November and December respectively. I can tell you now that it’s one I will be picking up time and again.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Goodreads

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK    Amazon US     Waterstones

My Thoughts…

If I haven’t already made it clear from the intro, let me say this one thing first. Ahem. I LOVED THIS BOOK! I was already a huge fan of Laini Taylor’s based on her Strange the Dreamer duology. She really has a way with words, beautiful descriptions and great characters/storylines. If you are a huge fantasy fan, please, please read at least one of her books. Whilst they are marketed at a young adult audience, I didn’t overly perceive them that way. I don’t typically read YA but I’m glad I did on this occasion!

In Daughter of Smoke and Bone Laini Taylor reinvents the classic angels vs demons conflict. Where typical stories have clear cut good and evil sides, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is riddled with moral ambiguity and grey areas on both sides. It makes the conflict element of the storyline really interesting. What makes it even better is that our main character Karou is largely ignorant of what is going on within this conflict for most of the book. To us readers, she begins as a mostly normal young woman studying art in Prague. However, as Karou accidently learns that there is more to her existence than she first realises, we readers are thrown into a whole new world where enemies appear as friends, and friends as enemies. Who is Karou really, and who can she trust?

I really enjoy how well Laini Taylor gives her female characters plenty of sass! If you want an example, I shared a great opening quote from one of the later books in a First Lines Friday post. It’s just one of many brilliantly funny moments that had me laughing out loud. I’m pretty sure I had a few quizzical looks whilst reading this, not least from my sister!

As someone that isn’t a huge advocate of romances in novels, I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of the Karou/Akiva relationship alluded to in the synopsis. I was pleasantly surprised though. It is quite a significant part of the narrative, but it isn’t awkward, forced or uncomfortable to read. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I just get awkward reading romances when they’re overly sexualised. It just makes me cringe. Karou and Akiva’s spark isn’t like that at all – it’s born of longing, a half-remembered past. A re-kindling. That’s all I can say without spoiling anything, but the one thing it is not is sexual. Works for me!

I’m glad I bought Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the rest of the series later, in paperback. I will definitely be revisiting this series again – that’s how much I loved it. Now that I know what happens, I also want to read it again to see what I missed the first time.  

Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone or any other books by Laini Taylor? Let me know in the comments!

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

Thank you!***

Audiobook Review: Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Today I am sharing an audiobook review for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I listened to this audiobook last year and finished it in September. It’s been a little while since I finished this, however, I have listened to its sequel Crooked Kingdom more recently.

I really enjoyed listening to Six of Crows and today’s post is all about sharing what I loved about it! Before that though, here are the details of the book: –

 

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads – Six of Crows

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts

My favourite thing about this particular book, and series, is the depth and detail of the world that has been created. Whilst I have only listened to this duology from Leigh Bardugo, my understanding is that it ties in with another series she has written (The Shadow and Bone series). It really shows in the detail. Those that read my reviews regularly will know that I talk about the setting and history of a novel a lot. It’s a big factor on whether I enjoy fantasy stories such as these or not. It worked really well for me, and I think I will be reading or listening to her other series based on what I have enjoyed listening to already.

As I listened to the audiobook version of Six of Crows, I got the benefit of a variety of narrators to add to the overall diversity in characterisation. I really liked that the story was split into several perspectives, but not so many that it becomes difficult to understand who our perspective is narrated by and what is going on. Each perspective is distinct, unique and adds to the storyline.

The daring, impossible criminal heist element of the storyline really drew me in and I’m glad I picked up Six of Crows. This was the first book I have read by Leigh Bardugo and I’ll be reading more of her books based on this one. It’s nail-biting and exciting. I agree with some of the reviews offering criticism about how events play out – it does seem a little unrealistic given the circumstances. However, I didn’t really think about it at the time – it was still enjoyable all the same!

Have you read or listened to Six of Crows? What do you think of it?

 

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

Thank you!***

Sunday Summary – 19th April 2020

I feel really good about today’s Sunday Summary post and the updates I have for you all this week. I hope you have all had a good one?

I began the week with a fun Top Ten Tuesday post. I don’t know about you, but in light of the current situation, I find myself thinking a lot about the books I could dive into to forget all the madness. If you do but are looking for some inspiration on what to pick up, then my top ten books for a little escapism might be of interest to you. Even if you already know your books of choice, you’re welcome to come and have a nosy at my recommendations too!

On Friday I shared another Shelf Control post. It’s unusual of me to have a collection of short stories on the TBR – I tend to read longer novels. There are a few exceptions to the rule, however. I received a beautiful copy of this week’s book from my aunt for my birthday three years ago.

 

Books Read

My main read over the course of this week has been The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. I did briefly start this last week to change up what I was reading midweek. I had read the first few chapters, taking me to 13%. As expected, I loved this book! I’ve really enjoyed reading the 2nd era Mistborn books over the last few months. I just have to wait for the last one, due out next year!

I’ve also made a start on my next read, Boom Time by Michelle Lowe. The intro is quite wacky, so I’m interested to see where the rest of the book goes. If it lives up to the blurb, I think it’ll be a good one!

In addition to physical reads, I’ve also made further progress with Moon Over Soho this week. I’ve slowed down a little compared to the progress I have been making in the last couple of weeks, but I’ve still managed to listen to about half of this. That takes me to about 75% of the way through, so fingers crossed I’ll have this finished shortly.

 

Books Discovered

As with last week’s Sunday Summary post, I’ve been very good again! I’ve been keeping myself distracted with the books I have and finishing my crochet project, so there are no new books on the TBR this week. Here’s my finished crochet baby blanket, which I am really proud of! My friend really liked it and it’s had a lot of love on Instagram as well, which is a bonus!

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About 5 years ago I taught myself how to crochet 🧶 using online resources (YouTube etc). I haven’t picked it up in a long while, but I decided it would be a great way to pass the time during isolation. My friend has also had a baby very recently, so I wanted to make a gift for her little one 👶🏼 . This is the end result! I found the pattern online (Daisy Farm Crafts) and I love it! I’m really happy with how it’s turned out! . What hobbies are getting you through social distancing at the moment? . #bookworm #bookblogger #happy #books #bookaddict #amreading #asongoficeandfire #georgerrmartin #adancewithdragons #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #booksofinsta #booklove #daisyfarmcrafts #crochet #crafting #blanket

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Coming Up…

I want to try and work on some of the reviews I have outstanding next week. With that in mind, I am planning on posting my thoughts on two books. The first is going to be an audiobook review for Six of Crows by Leight Bardugo. I listened to this a little while ago now, however, the book and characters are still fresh in my mind from listening to the second part of the duology recently.

The second review of the week will be for the start of a series I devoured last year. I was a fan of Laini Taylor’s even before reading her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Now, I am even more so! You can find out why in that review!

This Friday I’ll be sharing another First Lines Friday post. The past few posts have featured books that I read some time ago, so this week I’m changing it up. I’ll feature a book that is currently on my TBR instead (and probably torment myself over how good it is and subsequently want to read it). That’s the life of a reader… what can I say?

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you have enjoyed catching up with me! What are you currently reading?

 

 

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Shelf Control #18 – 17/04/2020

Today’s Friday feature post is all about Shelf Control – or in my case, lack of it (and deluding myself that I have it by way of these posts)! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

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

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

In today’s post, I am featuring a collection of short stories. I don’t have many of these on my reading list, but I wanted a physical copy of these specifically. They are stories that most people know, in some form.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Goodreads – The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers 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.

 

Purchase LinksAmazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

You may be thinking, why would I want to read what are now children’s stories? The answer, simply, is this. The original tales written by the Brothers Grimm are not the fairytale stories we know today. The stories that we all know and loved as children are heavily revised and sanitised versions of these original tales.

In part, I want to read this to see how wildly different the stories are to the commonly told versions of it… but not just that. These editions of the stories are old. They were written between 1812 and 1815. The language and tone are going to be very different to that how, so I guess I also have an interest in the age and history of the writing too!

The edition I was gifted for my birthday a couple of years ago has beautiful illustrations in as well!

Have you read these original tales? Would you recommend them? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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

Thank you!***

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Books for a little escapism

Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! I really like writing these posts and decided it was time for another. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. Sometimes the prescribed topics just don’t fit my blog at all! Instead, I have been having a think about an alternative topic for this week. I don’t know about you, but I read for a bit of escapism. I like to break away from the mundane routine. Well, normally. Fact is, the normal mundane routine has been ripped up and tossed out the window. It’s not a very nice situation we are in right now and more than ever I am looking for escapism. I’m sure others are too… and that’s what gave me the idea for this post.

I thought I might struggle to put this list together, but I had the opposite problem! I’ve had to cut it down quite a lot. I’ve excluded a lot of larger names that I would love to feature here because they’re well-known enough to recommend themselves. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are great books – but you probably know about them already. In today’s post, I wanted to talk about books and authors that aren’t as well-known – although they deserve to be!

 

The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

It would be pretty sacrilegious not to include my current read on this list. I’ve devoured the last three books of this series with fervour over the past few months. The books published to date are split into two timelines. I loved the first trilogy years ago but recently, the later books set in the fictional city of Elendel have reiterated why I love Brandon Sanderson’s writing. The depth of history of the magic, the characters… it’s all fantastic.

I get lost in these books! They’re the kind you promise yourself ‘just one more chapter’ before bed and before you know it, it’s WAY past your bedtime. I don’t regret it either.

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

This is also a recent discovery. I think the fact that I listened to all of Rivers of London and a third of Moon over Soho in the past couple of weeks alone says it all! If it doesn’t, I don’t know what will!

I’ve been listening to these as audiobooks whilst crocheting. It’s nice to break up the format of ‘reading’ – but I have to praise the narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. He manages to take the author’s already interesting and diverse characters and breathe life into them. The book also balances action, character development and sensory descriptions really well. If you like magical and supernatural mysteries or think you might, I would definitely recommend these books as a starting point! I suspect I’ll continue to binge-listen to these!

 

The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

Something for historical fiction fans here! I’m not even halfway through this series yet but I love it so much! It was recommended to me by a work colleague and friend. She is Danish, and it prompted some interesting conversation about the historical period. For those that don’t know, it’s set at the time the Vikings invaded Britain. The main character Uhtred is an Englishman, but living in the North, his village was raided when he was a boy and he was subsequently raised by Danes. His personal conflict between both sides runs throughout the books I have read so far and it makes for a really interesting perspective on the period!

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

If standalone books are more your thing, then Simon Says might be of interest to you. I’m going to be upfront and say that the storyline is based on the sensitive topic of rape, and the consequences of it. That might put some people off, and that’s fine! This book isn’t for you in that case. Considering the nature of it, I think that it is handled really well. I was really impressed with this book – so much so it made it on my top reads of 2019 list!

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor

This book (and series) also qualified for the top reads of 2019 list! I love Laini Taylor’s style of writing and I’ve really enjoyed her Strange the Dreamer duology previously. The Angels vs Demons (monsters) baseline is plot is great because she breaks down the stereotypes of good and evil and tosses them out of the window.

 

Blackwing – Ed McDonald

Blackwing

If, like me, you love fantasy series with epic fantasy worlds with plenty of lore in a post-apocalyptic setting, then the Raven’s Mark series could be for you! Magic ravaged the world in a cataclysmic event and razed the landscape now known as the Misery. If that’s not interesting enough for you, then how does a plotline indicating that a similar event with even more catastrophic consequences sound?

It was a winner for me and I really, REALLY recommend this one to any and all fantasy fans!

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Nevernight

The Nevernight Chronicles is another great fantasy series for those that love fantasy novels with lots of history to them. Throw in a young girl who has had her family ripped apart since childhood, rare magic power and a terrible grudge… and you get an amazing, murderous and vengeful trilogy. Determined to bring down the institution that tried to have her murdered as a child, Mia Corvere is a force to be reckoned with. I also quite enjoy Jay Kristoff’s parallels between himself and Mercurio – that’ll make sense if you read the books.

 

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

It has been a long time since I read these books, but they have definitely made a lasting impression! The first thing I love is the narration style. The tale is told from an older (and hopefully wiser) Kvothe, our main character. He is very candid over the past mistakes of his youth, which we learn about as he retells the tale.

Again, this is a series with a lot of development into the world and characters, so those of you that love that and all the action of the narrative should get on with this very well.

 

The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor

Here is another standalone for those of you that don’t have the commitment for a series. The Chalk Man is a mystery thriller novel with a chilling premise and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes! In their youth, Eddie and the gang drew chalk men as a means of communicating with each other secretly around town. However, twenty years on they reunite, and the chalk men have made a mysterious reappearance…

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

The last book on my list is another standalone mystery. The premise of the novel is like a traditional murder mystery, only its groundhog day. The protagonist has seven days to relive the day in the bodies of each guest and then name the murderer.

I really liked this one – I thought it was really unique. It’s also very cleverly-written too!

Hopefully, you have found some inspiration from this Top Ten Tuesday list, if that’s what you’re looking for! If not, well I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you agree with any of my recommendations?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 12th April 2020

Hey guys and welcome back to this week’s Sunday Summary post! Yes, I’m back to normal scheduling this week! How have you been? What have you been doing to entertain yourselves in these strange times? In normal circumstances, I would have been spending the day with my parents. I do every Sunday generally, but I would have spent today with them especially as it’s my dad’s birthday! I am gutted that I couldn’t get to spend the day with him (and my mum) to celebrate, but I did see them briefly to drop off some birthday presents and a takeaway of his choice since we couldn’t go out!

What have I been up to earlier in the week? Well, aside from working from home, I’ve been reading, continuing with my baby blanket crochet project and blogging of course! My first blog post of the week was a review of Circe by Madeline Miller. I actually enjoyed sharing my mixed feelings about the book… and found that I am not the only one that felt the same way about it!

On Friday I shared the opening lines to a book and series I started years ago. I also discovered that book 4 of the series is due out next year, so I might just have to re-read the first three books. It’s been a LONG time since I picked these up. I’m going to need a refresh.

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I shared that my current read was Magical Intelligence by M. K. Wiseman. This has been the case most of the week. It’s not the smallest book – 426 pages according to Goodreads, and I had just started it that day last week. I could have read it faster, but I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I didn’t. I’m finding staying at home has made me quite restless and it’s affecting my attention span. That’s where the crocheting has come in handy really – it’s a break and change of activity!

For a break, I did also start reading The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson one night this week. I managed 13% of this one before falling asleep – so a respectable start! Since I have started it, this is the book I’ll be continuing on with next. I’ve loved reading The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self in the past couple of months, so I’m hoping I might find some improved concentration on this one!

If not, it’s not the end of the world. As I said, I’ve also been working on my baby blanket. Just because I am crocheting though, it doesn’t mean I’m not consuming books too! This week I managed to finish Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London and I’m about a quarter of the way through the sequel, Moon Over Soho. I’m so glad I chose to ‘read’ these as audiobooks! The narrator really brings all the characters to life.

 

Books Discovered

I have absolutely nothing to report here this week – I haven’t even so much as added a book to the TBR!
It’s a rare occasion, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts!

 

Coming Up…

I want to write something fun next week, so I’m lining up a Top Ten Tuesday post to fit the bill. A lot of people read as a form of escapism… I certainly do! So, I’ve decided my Top Ten Tuesday post is going to be recommendations for anyone looking for escapism in these uncertain (and unpleasant) times.

On Friday it’s the turn of my Shelf Control regular feature. This week’s featured ‘book’ is actually the first edition of a large collection of stories. These stories aren’t necessarily as we know them today; however, a lot of modern stories will have their roots with these early translations. I’m not giving you any more clues than that – it’s a big one as it is!

As always, my trusty update Sunday Summary post will round up the week!

Now that’s this week round up complete, I’m off to make myself another cuppa and crack on with my reading! What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 10/04/2020

Welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! Have you any plans for this long weekend? There’s not much we can do exactly, but let’s try and make the most of it right?

In today’s post, I am featuring another book I read and loved many years ago as a teenager. I’m not sure I have ever mentioned having read this book or the rest of the series in fact. Today’s the day we change that!

Can you guess the book from the introduction?

 

At the height of the long wet summer of the Seventy-Seventh Year of Sendovani, the Thiefmaker of Camorr paid a sudden and unannounced visit to the Eyeless Priest at the Temple of Perelandro, desperately hoping to sell him the Lamora boy.

‘Have I got a deal for you!’ the Thiefmaker began, perhaps inauspiciously.

‘Another deal like Calo and Galdo, maybe?’ said the Eyeless Priest. ‘I’ve still got my hands full training those giggling idiots out of every bad habit they picked up from you and replacing them with the bad habits I need.’

‘Now, Chains.’ The Thiefmaker shrugged. ‘I told you they were shit-flinging little monkeys when we made the deal, and it was good enough for you at the-‘

‘Or maybe another deal like Sabetha?’ The Priest’s richer, deeper voice chased the Thiefmaker’s objection right back down his throat.

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

Goodreads – The Lies of Locke Lamora

In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood”, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling…

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…

 

Purchase links: Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

If you like roguish, non-altruistic characters in a detailed fantasy world setting then I think this is a series that you will enjoy. The Gentleman Bastards series is really entertaining to read. So far, only the first three books have been published. The fourth, The Thorn of Emberlain, is scheduled for publication in August next year. It has been a long time since I picked these up, so I think I will have to refresh myself with a re-read before picking up this next instalment!

Have you read The Lies of Locke Lamora or the series? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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

Thank you!***

 

Book Review: Circe – Madeline Miller

In today’s book review post, I am sharing my thoughts on Circe by Madeline Miller. I read this book on holiday last October and it’s finally time to share my thoughts on the book! I had heard and read so many great reviews on it, so I was optimistic that I would really love it!

 

Circe – Madeline Miller

Goodreads – Circe

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

 

My Thoughts…

Whilst I did enjoy reading Circe, my perception of the book definitely suffered from the hype it got from others. It’s always a little disappointing when that happens, but it does happen occasionally! This is still a solid 3-star rated read – don’t think I am not saying I didn’t like it! I just… expected a bit more considering all the fuss over it.

I enjoyed the premise of the book and how Circe does not fit in. She makes her own way, and her own mistakes too. Plenty of them, in fact. Her independence is one of her only redeeming qualities in my eyes, however. I found it really difficult to relate to Circe, and that’s why I think my overall feel of the book is a lower rating than normal. Circe is vain, selfish, and really not all that endearing. No character is ever going to be perfect and flaws add realistic dimension, but I didn’t think there was much in the way of development throughout.

Despite my feelings for Circe’s character, I do have to give credit to the author for how well she includes so many of the Greek gods into the story in an uncomplicated manner. If you don’t know much about Greek gods, I’ll tell you this much – there’s a lot of them! I don’t have extensive knowledge of them; I’ve read one book about them (Mythos by Stephen Fry). Even so, I didn’t get lost in the plethora of characters as Circe interacts with them at various stages. Each God is introduced and explained in the narrative where relevant, so I don’t think any background knowledge is needed. Although, I won’t deny it was helpful.

The book itself is written very well. The flow of the narrative and the chapter sizes are very easy to read. I read this within a couple of days on holiday. That is a testament to how easy this is to read. I was able to pick it up and get straight back into the story in between reading breaks.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, but Circe was still an interesting read and I liked the cleverness of the storyline.

Have you read Circe? What are your thoughts on it?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 5th April 2020

Good evening readers and welcome back to my weekly update post, Sunday Summary. I hope you have all been able to make the most of the weekend in? I’ve been spending mine cleaning, doing washing, reading, listening to audiobooks and working more on my crochet baby blanket project!

It’s been a busy week too, not just the weekend. I had quite a few posts lined up, so I’ve spent a lot of time working on blog content as well! My first blog post of the week was a review for a book I read at the beginning of the year. I received a copy of These Are Not the Trinity Papers from the author Vale Zalecki and it was finally time to put my thoughts together into a review.

The next post I had lined up was my reading list for April. I can’t believe we are a quarter of the way through the year already… but here we are! In that post, I took the opportunity to review my challenges, as well as set myself an ambitious reading list. I don’t even have to make excuses to stay in to read at the moment… it’s great!

Friday’s Shelf Control post featured a historical fiction novel that I am keen to read. It is part of my Beat the Backlist challenge, so I’ll be reading it a little later in the year with any luck! It’s a completely new period of history to me, although I am hoping from the sound of it that it is reminiscent in tone to the likes of Bernard Conwell’s Saxon Stories (The Last Kingdom) series.

And finally, on Sunday I shared my blog tour review of iRemember by S. V. Bekvalac. Fans of science fiction and/or dystopian fiction should really check out this review (and the book)! I think you’ll really enjoy it. You may have noticed that this Sunday Summary is coming to you a little late – well, this is why!

 

Books Read

Picking up from where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post, I did finish The God Game as promised. I blitzed the last part of the book before I went to bed and I am glad I did! It felt good to finish it after having a bit of a slow week otherwise.

The next book I picked up was iRemember, in anticipation of the blog tour I have just taken part in. I spent most of the week reading this and finished reading it on Saturday, just in time to start drafting my review. I really enjoyed the book, but I have been quite distracted and found myself picking it up and putting it down a lot. Not a fault of the book at all – I think it’s cabin fever! As much as I joke about not having to make excuses to stay in and read… I do miss going out.

I started my next read quite late on today and I’ll be reading it before going to bed tonight. Since I am taking part in a blog tour for Magical Intelligence later on this month, I wanted to get prepared. So, I’m reading it nice and early. I’ve only read the first couple of chapters so far, but I’m already hooked on the storyline and can’t wait to see what happens next!

Now normally I report a small amount of progress with the latest audiobook I am listening to, but that’s not the case at all this week! I only typically listen to a couple of hours or so a week, but I have really excelled this week! It’s in part because I am working from home and have been doing some fairly basic and repetitive tasks. I’ve also found them good to listen to when working on my crochet project too – they help pass the time.

This week, I listened to John Scalzi’s Head On in its entirety and around two-thirds of Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. That’s over 15 hours of audio!

 

 

Books Discovered

I read a great review this week for an interesting sounding thriller, due to be published next month. Dear Child’s synopsis caught my eye, and Drew’s review over on The Tattooed Book Geek was so good that I decided to pre-order a Kindle copy. It’s not out until next month, but hey, it’s not like I don’t have plenty of books to keep me occupied in the meantime…

 

Coming Up…

I want to start next week by reviewing a book that I read on holiday in October last year. Doesn’t that feel a long time ago? I doubt there will be any holidays in the near future too, sadly. Anyway, Circe was one of the first books I picked up on the week-long trip. I’ve seen lots of reviews on the book and I’m looking forward to sharing my opinion of it too!

This week I’ll be sharing a First Lines Friday post. I don’t normally have a particular book in mind so early on. However, there is a particular book I read years ago that I loved and want to share with you all now. I hope you’ll enjoy the introduction as much as I did!

Next week my Sunday Summary post will be coming to you on the prescribed day. It’s just as I was taking part in a blog tour this week that it’s a little late.

That’s all for now folks! Enjoy the rest of the week, stay safe, and most importantly… keep reading! Just kidding, stay in and stay safe friends!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: iRemember – S. V. Bekvalac

Happy weekend readers! I hope you are having a good one? Since we are all in the middle of lockdown, what better way to spend your time than curled up with a good book? That’s how I am spending mine anyway.

If you are looking for book recommendations, then I hope I can help you here. Today I am taking part in the blog tour for iRemember by S. V. Bekvalac and sharing my thoughts on her book. iRemember is perfect for science fiction and/or dystopian fiction fans… so if that’s your cup of tea please read on!

Quickly before I jump in, huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

 

iRemember – S. V. Kekvalac

Goodreads – iRemember

The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.

It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.

Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect. She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.

A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

For a limited time, iRemember will be available for only 99p.

 

My Thoughts…

iRemember has all the elements expected of dystopian fiction novels – the means to subdue a population and then control it. iRemember was created to allow citizens to protect their memories. The human mind is far from perfect, so why risk losing your precious moments to time and degradation or forgetfulness when you can upload them? That was the idea anyway… and citizens signed up in the thousands.

Helena Frome is the head of the totalitarian government now governing the City. iRemember has become her means of surveillance. Citizens own thoughts and memories can betray them if picked up by those monitoring the data being uploaded to iRemember. Icara Swansong is an agent of the Bureau working for Helena Frome, to rid the world of corruption, but she is fighting a losing battle. Beneath the calming Tranquelle fumes, a dark side of the city simmers away, longing to be forgotten and will do whatever they can to achieve it.

As a huge fan of both science fiction and dystopian novels, iRemember was a great read for me! Set in a futuristic world, the Bureaucrats have all the latest, fancy technology and software. Primitive versions of tech and traditional weapons we know today are relegated to the city’s forgotten underbelly, the Sub Urbs. Despite being more advanced, the technology used in this futuristic universe is very similar to some of the more sophisticated technology we have now and is therefore familiar.

The narrative of iRemember is so twisty that you don’t know who to trust at any given moment. Who is in whose pocket and undercover influence shape the story in an exciting way. Character relations are complex and you’ll find yourself second-guessing people’s motives constantly! I certainly did! There is a vast array in the characters within the novel too. I really enjoyed Lucian’s personal history and cynicism, especially paired with Icara’s overzealous optimism.

The overall story is written really well and draws the reader into the complex web. I really enjoyed reading iRemember and the combination of genres it encompasses. Nothing is ever as it seems and the narrative keeps you on your toes throughout! iRemember is a twisty tale full of deceit, lies and corruption… and cover-ups!

 

Author Bio

SV Bekvalac was born in 1987 in Croatia, in what was then Yugoslavia, but grew up in London.

She studied German and Russian at Oxford, and went to film school in Prague. After almost becoming a film-maker and then an academic, researching cities and films, she found herself writing fiction about cities instead. She started off with screenplays and short stories, but they got longer and longer. iRemember is her first novel.

She has lived in cities all over Europe. Now she lives in London, or in one of her own imaginary cities.

 

Social Media Links Twitter @sandra_bek @EyeAndLightning