Author: fantasyst95

Book Review: Beowulf

It has been an incredibly long time since I have read poetry.

When I requested this book from Netgalley, the logic was that I would be reading something a little different.

Beowulf

Goodreads – Beowulf

Beowulf tells the story of a Scandinavian hero who defeats three evil creatures—a huge, cannibalistic ogre named Grendel, Grendel’s monstrous mother, and a dragon—and then dies, mortally wounded during his last encounter. If the definition of a superhero is “someone who uses his special powers to fight evil,” then Beowulf is our first English superhero story, and arguably our best. It is also a deeply pious poem, so bold in its reverence for a virtuous pagan past that it teeters on the edge of heresy. From beginning to end, we feel we are in the hands of a master storyteller.
 
Stephen Mitchell’s marvelously clear and vivid rendering re-creates the robust masculine music of the original. It both hews closely to the meaning of the Old English and captures its wild energy and vitality, not just as a deep “work of literature” but also as a rousing entertainment that can still stir our feelings and rivet our attention today, after more than a thousand years. This new translation—spare, sinuous, vigorous in its narration, and translucent in its poetry—makes a masterpiece accessible to everyone.

 

My Thoughts…

Beowulf is an incredibly old text; the original manuscripts are thought to date back somewhere between the 10th and 11th century, a period in which there is a lot of Scandinavian influence in Britain as a result of the Vikings, uh… permanent, self-imposed visitation rights. Invasion – yes, that’s a good word too!

I have a Danish work colleague, and I think it is funny to compare ideas on these things. From the British perspective, the Vikings invaded, pillaged, murdered… eventually settling with us. From the Danish view, men and women were seeking a better life for their families. Farming was near impossible in the Scandinavian climate and life was harsh. British soil offered security.

Anyway, that’s a bit of background for you. Back to Beowulf!

I imagine (and am assured by other reviews) that any physical editions are presented so that the original text is on one page, with Stephen Mitchell’s translation on the other page. Sadly, as I was reading an ebook version, this did not translate (pardon the pun) at all. The readable, English paragraphs were broken up with Olde English, so the text lost it’s flow.

I wanted to read this epic poem for two reasons – one, because I am hugely interested in the historical period it is believed to have stemmed from; two, poetry is not an everyday read for me. Reading Beowulf reminded me of just why that is. Turns out, my competency of poetry extends about as far as mastering Green Eggs and Ham – but that’s all. Other reviews gush over how Mitchell maintains some alliteration, which structures the poem, but I’ll admit it passed me by.

Cat in the hat.gif
So whilst I enjoyed the historical context and the story in it’s own right, I couldn’t fully appreciate the poem and it’s construction for what it is. I just don’t get it. I rated the book three stars, because I still enjoyed reading it. Anyone with a better eye or ear for poetics will probably have a better time of appreciating this than me – but all the same, Beowulf’s acts of strength and heroism were an intriguing read.
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 25th March 2018

Good morning all! I hope my UK friends have remembered to roll your clocks forward!
I think I have – but there always seems to be one I miss… that I find about a week later.
dumbledore shrug
Every time. ANYWAY – moving on!!
Those of you that take your valuable time to look at this little book blog once in a while (and I am ETERNALLY grateful – thank you!) may have noticed a little more going on this week. I’ve been spending the past couple of weeks on the warpath to catch up with my reading, so I wasn’t really posting much. Now I am caught up though, it’s time to see the fruits of my labour!
On Monday I took part in a Blog Tour I have been looking forward to for a couple of months – StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio. This is the third book in the series, so in order to participate properly, I spent February catching up with the first and second books. Therefore, to me, this review felt like it was a long time in the making!
I published another review on Wednesday for Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich. This review was also followed up with a guest post written by Milana herself, so I would really encourage you check these out if you haven’t already!!
I was also hoping to put a post together in relation to a nomination I received, but I was feeling lazy yesterday decided that I would post about this next week instead!
 

Books Read


 
Last week I mentioned that I had just started reading Beowulf… and that was the book I kick-started the week with! It is the first poetry I have read in a long time, so it made a refreshing change actually!
My next (and current) read is Ekata: Fall of Darkness. Admittedly, I am only 16% of the way through this one at the moment; there is definitely a fine balance between reading and blogging that has to be struck! I’ve not read as much as I would like, but I’m sure I can have it read by the end of next week!
Lastly, I have made a little more progress through An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney (Sally Gardener) and I continue to love that!! Now that I am not doing any painting, I have taken to listening in the morning if the news is particularly grim. Also, Piers Morgan. Ugh. Some mornings, I just cannot be doing with that!
 

Books Discovered

Scythe
This was a late add to my discovered list.
I seem to recall having seen this before and dismissing it as a book I wasn’t convinced I would enjoy. However, I read a review on another blog the other day (apologies – neither can I remember who wrote it, nor can I find you – sorry!) and it changed my mind completely! I’ll have to pick this up sometime. If I find the review, I’ll link it here, but in the meantime I’ll just have to keep searching! I really should keep a note of these!
 

Coming Up…

As I mentioned above, I’ll be starting the week with a blog nomination post – it’s great to celebrate blogs and the people behind them, so I appreciate the nomination!
On Wednesday I’ll be reviewing Beowulf, which should appease the Netgalley gods for a little while at least! I’m catching up on a few of my Netgalley reads, so my rating will have improved by this time next month! So many books, so little time…
That’s all for now – what are you reading this week?
Rebecca mono

Guest Post – Milana Marsenich

Copper Sky

Milana MarsenichCopper Sky

I have a strong affection for my hometown of Butte, Montana, a mining town with a rich history. As a natural listener and a therapist, I’ve witnessed amazing generosity and courage in others. I first witnessed this in the Butte people. As a child, a teen, and a young adult I also witnessed multiple tragedies and incredible resilience in overcoming these tragedies. It made me think about the ways that a town affects us, especially a town as spirited and as wild as Butte, Montana. In writing Copper Sky I attempted to capture the town’s kindness, its bold spirit, its heartbreak, and its amazing courage and compassion.

The White Dog

Milana Marsenich dogI have always loved dogs. Huskies are my breed. Every dog I’ve had as adult has either been a husky, a malamute, or a stray that lived with a husky or a malamute. Consequently, writing the four 1895 parts of Copper Sky from the dog’s point of view was easy for me. Both the white dog and the wolf dog in Copper Sky are attempts to give the reader a close look at the town’s enduring nature. I thought of both dogs as “the town’s dog”. As it turns out, there actually was a town’s dog that the people of Butte took care of and memorialized with a sculpture. You can read about Auditor here: http://www.ohmidog.com/2010/11/02/surviving-butte-the-story-of-the-auditor/
I didn’t know about Auditor when I wrote Copper Sky. I learned about him after he died. I was at my father’s house in Butte and noticed an article about him in the Montana Standard, the Butte paper. Granted, he’s not a wolf dog, or any version of husky, but he definitely represents the town’s spirit: lovable, loyal, and generous.

The Accidents

Butte has had multiple mining accidents as well as frequent fires. People died all the time. Copper Camp, a book published in 1943, states that the accidents probably created 50-100 widows a year. In 1889 fire broke out in the Anaconda Mine shaft killing 6 men. A fire in the Silver Bow mine in 1893 killed 9 men. An1895 warehouse fire and dynamite explosion killed at least 51 people. In 1911 the mine cage dropped from the surface to the sump of the Leonard mine, some 1500 feet, killing five men. Later that year, before the introduction of child-labor laws, 6 boys were killed in a tragic accident in the Black Rock Mine. In 1917, the year of Copper Sky, fire broke out in the shaft of the Speculator Mine, killing 168 men. The people of Butte have learned to grieve, comfort, and understand, to absorb sorrow and transform it. They have learned to be strong, to rise up proud and full of grace, to fight for justice, to carry on. It is this strong spirit that I hoped to portray in Copper Sky.

The Orphans

Men were not the only ones to die. Women also fell prey to misfortune. They were victims of violence, oppression, and sickness. In 1918 alone the Spanish Flu killed 1000 people in Butte. As I wrote Copper Sky I wondered about the motherless children. How did the town manage so many orphans? And what was the effect of such loss on the children? As a therapist I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the many ways trauma affects our lives. In Copper Sky I explore, not just the effects of our own traumas, but also the effects of the traumas of our parents, the traumas of a town, the traumas that happened before we were even born. I couldn’t help but wonder if the people of Butte had absorbed this ability to deal compassionately with tragedy simply by living and growing up in a town like Butte. Did their very good and generous hearts spring from a town filled with such tragedies?

The Love

Copper Sky tells the story of two women with opposite lives. Orphaned and alone, Kaly Shane suffers hardship and gets bound up in prostitution. Finding herself pregnant she struggles to find a safe home for her unborn child. She searches for a family and faces those she has loved and those she has lost. Somehow, in the mess of it all, she makes peace with her past. Marika Lailich, a Slavic immigrant, dodges a prearranged marriage. Marika wants to be a doctor. To follow her love of medicine, she tries to escape the responsibilities of family love. I like to say that Copper Sky is a mining city love tale, ful of disturbed, loyal and fierce love, love that is ultimately a reconciling force in a community laced with tragedy. When the Speculator mineshaft catches fire both Kaly and Marika help to minimize the damage of the tragedy. They find courage, strength, and wisdom they didn’t know they had. In spite of themselves, they find love.

Continue reading

Book Review: Copper Sky – Milana Marsenich

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author, via OpenBooks, in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

One hundred years on – the times have changed, as have our struggles… and nothing reminds us of that more than Copper Sky:-

Copper Sky

Goodreads – Copper Sky

The feminine spirit of the West comes alive in early twentieth century Montana.

Set in the Copper Camp of Butte, Montana in 1917, Copper Sky tells the story of two women with opposite lives. Kaly Shane, mired in prostitution, struggles to find a safe home for her unborn child, while Marika Lailich, a Slavic immigrant, dodges a pre-arranged marriage to become a doctor. As their paths cross, and they become unlikely friends, neither knows the family secret that ties them together.

 

Writing as somebody who has had the stability and privilege of 1st world background, this has naturally had some influence over the way in which I have interpreted the book. Some people may disagree with my comments, but please understand that I write them as generalisations only. In no way am I discrediting anybody else’s opinion or experience just because it is not a majority.

Comparing the lifestyle of these two women is a far cry from that expected and experienced by many others in modern day. That being said, we still have our modern day issues to contend with.

One of the topics Milana brings to the table, in a variety of ways, is the rights of women. This is still a hot topic today, albeit for different reasons. By way of example, one of our local topical debates at the moment is the issue of legalising abortion. My home town is the very place that allowed landowning women to vote from 1881 – some 37 years before the UK even introduced it, yet to get an abortion, women usually travel as they cannot be accessed here!

Anyway, that is a discussion for another time perhaps. The point is this; society has adapted within the past 100 years and thankfully our living and working conditions are not so harsh (for the most part).

Kaly, one of many prostitutes in Butte, has to battle with the reality that she is pregnant. The father, whom Kaly has known since childhood, wants to help her raise the child. Having had a difficult, parentless childhood herself, she faces inner turmoil, wondering what kind of life her child will ever have. Should she raise the child, (most likely into prostitution), or allow the child to be raised in an unsafe foster home? Those are not the only options either, but they are not pretty at all.

Marika has different troubles of her own. Does she respect her father’s wishes and marry the husband he has found for her, or pursue her dreams of training to be a doctor? Marika is a stubborn girl and I admire her mettle, as even in fighting into a profession she has longed to join since girlhood – it is very much a man’s world. Time and again she is not taken seriously, but she keeps trying all the same!

Copper Sky is based around real events and disasters within Butte, Montana. Mining disasters, fires and later civil unrest were frequent occurrences and as Milana correctly highlights – mining is a dangerous profession. Working conditions were less than ideal and many men lost their lives labouring in those mineshafts.

Despite the serious themes of the book, it is not without beauty. Gorgeous, vivid descriptions of the landscape and community reflect the author’s love of her hometown, and the depth of both Kaly’s and Marika’s perspective is absorbing. I was never in any doubt as to whose perspective the narrative was being relayed from due to the contrasting ideas and attitudes of the women.

Whereas Kaly, through hardship and experience has a perhaps pessimistic attitude to life (as can only be expected given everything she has gone through), Marika is youthful, hopeful and has an arguably more naïve innocence about her. Each character is complex; even though Kaly has little hope or stability for her child, she still moderates herself for the health of the baby so doesn’t dismiss having it outright. Marika, on the other hand, has a fiery temper and willfulness to be her own person and not be given by one man into the possession of another.

Living in a small community myself, I sense, relate to and love the community spirit that comes together anytime disaster strikes. When it comes to saving lives, all social and economic disparities are set aside, as they should be, in my humble opinion. The author has captured the soul and portrayed both sides of the double-sided coin of life in a way that broadens perspective. It is one thing to know what lengths people will go to and what motivates them, and quite another to experience it by seeing through their eyes.
Rebecca mono

Blog Tour: StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio

I have been looking forward to this post for so long!

Today I get to share my thoughts with you about StoneKing as part of the ongoing Blog Tour. Thank you to Fiery Seas Publishing and Donna for the opportunity to get involved!

Part of the reason this has been some time in the making was that before February, I hadn’t even read any of the earlier books in this series. So… I had some catching up to do! If there is anyone else new to the series and would like to learn a little more about my thoughts for the prior books in the series, Kinglet and Fiskur, you will note I have kindly (and unashamedly) provided links for my self promo for you to take a look at.

Are you sitting comfortably, ready to see where Kristan’s adventure takes us next?

StoneKing

StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio
February 20th, 2018
Fantasy
The Gemeta Stone Book 3
Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

Book Trailer

 

 

 

 

They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.
But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.
And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.

 

My Thoughts…

StoneKing picks up a short while after Fiskur – Kristan’s anointed Reaches are now governing his realm whilst he returns home to Fandrall to restore his birthright.

Yet the StoneKing himself is as broken as the realm, and as he tries to take the troubles from everyone’s shoulders, will he break under the strain? He is certainly a different man. In Kinglet he is a young, strong, altruistic and stereotypically heroic in character – which couldn’t be any further from the truth now. He is physically weak and mentally tested as he struggles to master his magic, whilst everybody else succeeds in trying his patience. It is hardly surprising when the rocky foundations of control crumble, given that Kristan’s Reaches lack the experience required to rule the realm in his stead.

An unexpected journey as a result of a delegation visit and an even more shocking gift is the only reason that Kristan discovers any of the ongoing turmoil; it only goes to show how tenuous his control is.

I am not going to lie – I loved seeing Kristan fall from grace in Fiskur; not that I would wish the trauma he went through on anyone, but there would have been very little scope for character development if he hadn’t. I’m not a huge fan of tropes, some more than others, and I actually love this series more for breaking the stereotype. Nobody is as perfect as Kinglet painted Kristan to be, so the newfound dark elements of his mind and perspective lend a greater depth to his character. At the moment, his all-in-all expression of negativity creates a lot of conflict and uncertainty, but I cannot help but feel it has some greater part to play later on. Who can say, maybe Daazna created the tumultuous monster that will be his undoing?

I would say it helped a great deal that I have read the previous instalments to the series only a short time ago, but I found StoneKing incredibly easy to pick up. Also, given that by the third book the reader understands the fantasy world built by the author, the pace of the book seemed quicker to me. Whilst the text was still beautifully and vividly descriptive, the need to impart detail and explanation was not so prominent and that enabled us to get on with the action. I am not one for spoilers, so you will just have to pick up the book(s) to find this out for yourself!

The one thing that surprised me about the book was the distinct lack of presence of our main antagonist, Daazna. Instead it appears that Kristan has more than one enemy and maybe their future role could become more significant than we know. Personally, I would have liked to see even one chapter dedicated to Daazna. I want to know his plans!! Even just to serve as a reminder that he is still alive!

Much like in Fiskur, we are introduced to a number of new characters. I love Serle, aforementioned “inexperienced squire”. He is only a child, bless him, but I would go so far as to say he is practically incompetent at being a squire. There were times when he irritated Kristan so much and was so deflated at the whole situation that I just wanted to mother him and tell him it was alright. I also loved Nolle and her cheeky side. Even knowing the wrath she would endure from the StoneKing, she still pushed the boundaries far more than she should have. But then she could, because he needed her Wiche power. Both of these characters made refreshing additions and I hope to see more of them in future books.

I cannot wait to see what the next instalment of the series is and what difficulties Kristan and his friends encounter. Having read the first three books and really enjoyed them, I can hand on heart say that I will be following the series through to the end, whenever that may be.

 

 

Buy Links: Amazon  ~  Barnes & NobleKobo  ~  iBooks

 About the Author:
Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa& The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.
Social Media: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest

Sunday Summary – 18th March 2018

Good morning all on this snowy Sunday!
Thankfully we haven’t had too much snow at low level, but the hilltop views out my window are beautifully white! Have you guys had any snow?
Things have been pretty quiet here again this week as I have been trying to catch up with my March TBR. I didn’t have such a good month for reading in February and ended up nearly a week behind! Safe to say I have caught up with myself now though!!
This week I shared my review of Living on A Rainbow by Calvin Wade, a lovely book that addresses the impact mental illness can have on both individuals and families. It really was an eye-opener.
 

Books Read

 

 
This week’s reading has been really enjoyable, even if I do say so myself! I started the week having read the first 10 chapters (or thereabouts) of Strange the Dreamer, but I put that to one side as I needed to have StoneKing read this week.
I found StoneKing easy to pick up, having not long read the previous book in this series, Fiskur. I picked this book up  on Monday and I finished it by Thursday, so I made good time. I think the pace of the story helped too – I actually found it really easy and enjoyable to read!
Now, Strange the Dreamer. The book I didn’t really intend to read this month. In one fell swoop I created “March of the ARC’s” and broke it, but I don’t regret it. I was picking up the book for the odd sly chapter in between reading StoneKing (because I could and why not?!) – but after finishing StoneKing I threw myself into it. By Friday, I had read about 40% of the book. Yesterday, I didn’t just read the rest of it, I DEVOURED it!! I found myself picking it up again and again and again until I got to the last part late evening. I had to finish it before going to bed. And I did. And I loved it. And it’s all I can do to not read it ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!
I probably will before Muse of Nightmares is released later this year!!!
If you haven’t guessed, based on my excessive exclamation mark use, I may have enjoyed the book. Slightly.

A little
Source: Giphy

Lastly, I very briefly touched on Beowulf, my next ARC, but not enough to really comment any further at the moment. I have only flicked through the beginning. I don’t anticipate this to be a particularly lengthy read, as a lot of the content is the original, untranslated poem.
The past few weeks I have also been talking about listening to An Almond for A Parrot, but I’ve just realised I haven’t actually made any progress on that this week! Shameful!
 

Books Discovered


 
I have to wait five months for Muse of Nightmares… FIVE MONTHS?! I am so in love with this duology (and Lazlo, obviously) and I can promise you I will be reading this as soon as I have my hands on a copy in October!
I’ve heard some fantastic things about Children of Blood & Bone lately too, especially from you lovely bloggers out there, so I bought myself a copy earlier today! I cannot wait to read it!! Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on the book!!!
 

Coming Up…

I know my blog has been a little on the scarce side lately, so next week shouldn’t disappoint!
I’m kicking off the week with the much awaited (on my part at least) Blog Tour for StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio. I’ll be reviewing the book tomorrow in the penultimate slot and I would love if you could check that out!
I’ll be publishing another review on Wednesday for Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich, a fictional book illustrating the struggles of both men and women in the small mining town of Butte in 1917. Milana is also working on a guest post, which we are planning on sharing with you all on Thursday!
I also have another post up my sleeve; a few weeks ago I was very kindly nominated for a Blogger Recognition Award by the lovely Larissa! Thank you dear! I haven’t forgotten, so I will get around to this soon, I promise! I am going to try and share this with you all towards the end of the week, but I don’t want to commit in case of timing constraints! If all else fails, I’ll begin the next week with this post!!
So that is *ALL* for now – I look forward to seeing you around!!
Rebecca mono

Book Review: Living on A Rainbow – Calvin Wade

I downloaded Living on A Rainbow for free from Amazon a little while ago, after reading a sample of the first chapter of the book. I was instantly captivated.

Living on a Rainbow

Goodreads – Living on a Rainbow

‘Living On A Rainbow’ is a story about mental health, bullying, growing up, battling against adversity but most of all it is a story about love. The love between a man and a woman. The love between a boy and his best friend. The love between a mother and her son and the love between a boy and his father.

Harry ‘H’ McCoy is not an ordinary boy and his life is not an ordinary life.

 

The cover perfectly illustrates where we find our main character, H, at the beginning of the story – stood on the edge of a bridge, both afraid and morbidly fascinated with heights. His best friend Andy at his side, trying to talk him down and convince him that his life isn’t over.

In Living on A Rainbow we re-live H’s rollercoaster life, rewinding the years from that precarious moment on the edge, back through his adulthood and teenage angst to where it all begins – with a happy child in a loving family and the kind of best friend we have all wished for.

As well as themes of mental illness, one of the most important messages in the book is that love for one another is one of the best gifts we have. Relationships form and fracture, as they do naturally throughout life, but we get to see the impact they truly have.

The first couple of chapters really drew me in. I wanted to learn what had happened to make H want to end his life. Then, as we experience H’s life from his childhood, I found the pace slowed. This isn’t a bad thing – it gives you the time to think and relate to his experiences. It grows on you. At the time, I thought the narrative would benefit from being broken down by chapters bringing us back to the present time, but having finished the book, I have changed my mind.

For me, the greatest revelation in the book comes right at the end – it’s how subtle/gradual a decline in mental state is. I will say now that I (luckily) have never experienced mental illness, although I have in my own way been able to relate to H towards the end. External influences are often attributed to stress in life and it isn’t always apparent that our perception or outlook has changed. In the past year I have had difficulty with bad mood swings as a result of a hormone imbalance. It took somebody else having a word with me to make me realise it was more than circumstantial. As far as I knew I was just having a bad time; I had job uncertainty and a close family member was recovering from illness. Naturally, I attributed my bad moods to these things. Having experienced what I have, I can hand-on-heart say that this has been written in a way that I strongly identify with. If anyone was to read this book as a means of understanding mental illness, I would say that this is an accurate representation of one of many mental illnesses out there.

I think Living on A Rainbow is an insightful read and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more. Inevitably, mental illness is a personal experience and differs between us all, so I would also recommend reading it in conjunction with other books of a similar nature in order to build a bigger picture.
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 11th March 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women out there! I hope you have some lovely plans for today!
I’m off to spend the day with my mum a little later, but for now, here is how my week has gone in all things bookish!
So I kept things reasonably quiet in terms of blog posts as I knew I wanted to get a fair bit of reading done this week. For the first time ever I reviewed an audiobook, The Stand by Stephen King. I have really taken to audiobooks; they are so convenient to listen to if you are up and about doing other things… and that way you still get everything done and the benefit of “reading” at the same time! Win!
 

Books Read


 
I’m actually quite pleased at how much I have managed to read this week. Unfortunately, due to running over in finishing up my last February read, I am a little behind schedule and fingers crossed I can make that time up!
Living on A Rainbow was my last February read, which I finished on Monday. It covers a number of sensitive topics including mental illness, so be warned, but I have to say it is beautifully done. Not only that, watching the MC slowly decline only goes to show that it really can happen to anyone!
On Tuesday I began my March TBR in earnest, with Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich and again, what a beautiful book. It highlights the struggles of living in Butte, a mining town in Montana in 1917. Whilst it also includes the dangers men faced in working in such conditions they did and disasters experienced in the town, it predominantly focuses on the struggles of two women, Kaly and Marika. Kaly is a prostitute who finds herself pregnant and doubting the future of both her and her baby. Marika aspires to be a doctor and fights against her father and the arranged marriage he has planned for her. Without saying too much, I finished this book yesterday I really can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all about it!
I’ve also been listening to An Almond for a Parrot now for the past few weeks and it is so laugh out loud funny, I daren’t listen to it in public in fear of people thinking I am stark raving mad! It’s brilliant! It’s a little more risqué than I would normally “read”, but it is portrayed from a perspective of near innocence (which is funny, since our MC is a “lady of pleasure” to put it politely). You cannot help but laugh!
So, you may have noticed “Strange The Dreamer” up there and thought… what the? That’s not an ARC!! And you would be right – it isn’t. Yesterday, this book was really calling me. It’s been sat on my bookshelf for nearly a year and I keep picking it up, flicking through a few pages and then put it down again, vowing to read it next month. Or the month after. It hasn’t happened so far.
So yesterday, temptation got the better of me. I told myself if I had a productive day and finished reading Copper Sky I would read the first chapter. Naturally, this spurred me on, I got all my housework done and finished Copper Sky in the early evening. After a short break, I made myself a cup of tea and read the first chapter. Then the second, third, fourth… you get it. I ended up reading all of part one, which is about 80 pages worth.
 
dog cheeky grin.gif
So yes, you could say that I fell off the bandwagon in a way. That being said, if I find a book that I love so wholeheartedly that I cannot put it down, I’m not going to deny myself that! That is what we readers look and secretly hope for.
I’m still going to be fulfilling my ARC reads, but no doubt I’ll be reading this on the side too. I will not wait until next month to pick it up again.. I can tell you that now!
 

Books Discovered


 
I’ve heard many a good thing about John Grisham’s writing, so when I saw this book discounted last Sunday, I knew had to try one of his books for myself!
Likewise with The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans, the murder mystery element of the book intrigued me, especially since it is set in London 1881, and historic fiction IS one of my favourite genres after all!
 

Coming Up…

This week, I am going to be reviewing my recent read of Living On A Rainbow by Calvin Wade. I touched above on how well the book tackles difficult themes, so if you are interested to know more, please stay tuned for my review on Wednesday!
Again, this week I am keeping it reasonably QT in the hopes of catching up with my reading, but the following week I will be sharing a number of different posts with you!
Keep reading!
Rebecca mono

Audiobook Review: The Stand – Stephen King

Getting into an audiobook was a huge change for me.
I had tried some free ones before as a means to experiment with whether I liked them or not. I was still hugely undecided, but after much insistence from a very good friend who loves them, I signed up to a free trial on Audible.
When you sign up, you get a free credit to spend on any book you would like. I thought that was pretty reasonable – even the bestsellers are available! I half expected you to only be able to choose from a limited library, but I am glad I was wrong.
I deliberated long and hard about what to download for a while. I wanted my credit to be worthwhile, so I purposely chose a long book.
 
The Stand

Goodreads – The Stand

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man.

By the time I had downloaded and began to listen to this, I had read a few of Stephen King’s books: The Green Mile, Pet Sematary, IT and the first book of The Dark Tower series. I love how King’s interpretation of the horror genre is very much based around the psychology of fear. I have to say it has almost become something of a fascination in me. Not being a lover of horror otherwise, the realisation came to be a pleasant surprise.

Do not get me started on budget horror films, unless you want to take an unconventional exit from the spotlight, (unlike all the highly stereotyped characters typically involved), by being bored to death by my incessant ramblings. I really could go on about it all day *sigh*

My point is this – King has contradicted every stereotype and shown me that not all horror is just a cheap shot at giving you an adrenaline rush. There is far more sophistication to his writing… and his in-depth understanding of people and the way they think is a scary thing in itself! It is almost as if King can see into your soul and just know your every thought, feeling and fear just by looking at you.
You must have gathered just how high he has risen in my expectations by now. I love his writing and the characters he creates. Although all of his stories are wildly different, they are all enjoyable in their own ways. The Stand explores how society rebuilds after a catastrophic event and the struggles it experiences with the forces of Good and Evil, embodied by Mother Abigail and The Walking Dude. All the while trouble stirs the pot from within, and things blow up in quite spectacular fashion.
This audiobook was an astounding 47hrs and 47mins long. The narrator, Grover Gardener was brilliantly consistent throughout. From the first minute to the last, there was no compromise in the narration or how well he brought each of the characters to life.
If I wasn’t sure about audiobooks before, I can assure you there is no doubt now. I am choosy about what I download and thankfully the sample option allows you to be. The next two books I have downloaded are ones that I was unsure as to whether I would actually pick up the physical book. Some stories are best told I think.
This however is definitely an exception, and I feel sure the next time I read this book, it will be a physical copy.
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 4th March 2018

Happy Sunday everybody!!
I hope you got lots of reading done this week – a lot of people would have had the opportunity with the weather being the way it was. My parents were in Derbyshire and they experienced 8-10 inches of snowfall… and whilst the pictures are lovely I wouldn’t like to be stuck in it!!
Alas, here at home we only had a dusting of snow, so there were no reading days for me this week. *silently wallows in despair*
I could have used the time to finish my February TBR, but never mind. I set myself the target to read five books, but only made it about halfway through book four on the list. That being the case, I’ll have to sincerely apologise to ADSOM fans, because I am going to have to postpone this read for a short while.
Moving on to cheerier topics, I treated you all to two reviews this week! First I posted my review of Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio, in preparation for reading StoneKing for the ongoing Blog Tour. Then on Thursday I took part in another Blog Tour for P.J Reed’s The Torcian Chronicles. I would really appreciate if you could take a look at those if you haven’t already.
Finally on Friday I published a brief Reading List for March, called March of the Arcs! As the name would suggest, this month I am dedicated to reading some ARC’s received. The first book on my list was added at the request of the author, the second a Blog Tour (19th March) and the final three are Netgalley downloads that I have had for shamefully too long!
 

Books Read


 
This week I have been attempting to finish Living On A Rainbow by Calvin Wade. It is the last book that I managed to start in the month, and I am really trying to finish it so as to not set myself too far back for this month. I’m really enjoying it so far though, so hopefully I’ll be able to share my thoughts with you about it soon.
I also made a brief start on Copper Sky by Milana Marsenich, which the author has kindly asked me to read and review. Thank you to both her and OpenBooks for the opportunity and I can’t wait to get stuck in further!
On the audiobook front, I began listening to An Almond for A Parrot yesterday, whilst I was doing my housework of all things. I like to listen to books when I am doing mindless tasks, as it gives you something to concentrate on. I added this book to my TBR last year and it’s perfect to listen to. I love the narrator’s way of voicing characters – she has really brought them to life.
 

Books Discovered

This week I was *reasonably* tame.
By reasonably, I mean I bought two books… but here me out…
Over the next year or more, I am looking to save a lot more money than I do currently. I’m actually quite good at saving normally, but if I am saving for anything “extra” and I don’t see the reward in the near future, I find it more difficult to not spend money for that purpose.
So, knowing what I am like and knowing that I am looking to be saving this money over a long spell, I have decided to set up a reward scheme for myself. I have set myself a savings target every month, starting in April. Basically, if I save my target every month I am going to buy myself a Penguin Classics book as a reward! That way I get to grow my collection and see the benefits of saving my money. I think it’s a good idea and it’ll work for me.
So, finally, to that end, I started my collection to set the wheels in motion with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

 

Coming Up…

Next week is blessedly going to be less manic and I am hoping to get plenty of reading done. I only have one post planned for you, which is a review of the first audiobook I listened to – The Stand by Stephen King.
I also hope to invest more time into discovering new blogs to follow this week – so I look forward to reading your posts soon! If anyone is feeling so kind as to post a link to their blog, either here or on my Twitter page, I would greatly appreciate it!!
Rebecca mono