Hi everyone and welcome back to another Shelf Control post! 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 posts allow me 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 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 historical fiction novel with what appears to be a strong female lead character in a male-dominated world. When I first started reading historical fiction, I was sticking to our more modern history. However, I find myself reading novels set in increasingly “older” time periods. It’s completely different from the courts and political history I am used to!
Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief.
Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable—until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future.
Hild is a young woman at the heart of the violence, subtlety, and mysticism of the early medieval age—all of it brilliantly and accurately evoked by Nicola Griffith’s luminous prose. Recalling such feats of historical fiction as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, Hild brings a beautiful, brutal world—and one of its most fascinating, pivotal figures, the girl who would become St. Hilda of Whitby—to vivid, absorbing life.
Hild will be the first book that I read in this particular time period. The only historical fiction novels I have read that are based in England and pre-date this are Nancy Jardine’s Celtic Fervour novels. These are based around 71AD onwards. On the other side of the timeline, I have been reading Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories series, better known as The Last Kingdom. These are set quite a bit later in the 9th and 10th century.
I always like to try something new. Reading the same or similar things can get boring over time. This is especially true for historical fiction. By nature, they are based on fixed events that happened already. It must be difficult to write about certain subjects already covered as there is a lot less flexibility in putting your own stamp on it. That said, I have read several stories set in the Tudor period and not gotten bored yet. I don’t read them all the time though – so that’s probably why!
I am hoping and imagining that Hild will be more like The Last Kingdom in vibe… minus the invading Vikings of course! From the sounds of the synopsis, the conflict around religion is there and there is an element of supernatural and superstition too. These are things that I really love about Bernard Cornwell’s series, so I am optimistic that Hild will be a hit for me too!
Have you read Hild, or any other books by Nicola Griffith? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!
***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!
I can’t believe it’s the beginning of April already! It doesn’t seem like three months ago I was setting myself targets for this year – but it is! I don’t feel like I am doing too great with one of those either, so I’m hoping to address that in this month’s reading list!
At the beginning of the year, I set myself a couple of challenges – the Goodreads Reading Challenge (as I do every year) and new this year, the Beat the Backlist Challenge. I also said I wanted to borrow from my local library more too.
The Goodreads Challenge is going well – I’m on track for my target of 80 books by the end of the year. It’s the other two challenges I’ve fallen behind in… not for a lack of trying! I’ve picked up 5 Beat the Backlist books, but I’ve had to DNF two of them. So, I’ve only read 3 out of my target 25 books. I suppose the aim is to clear 25 items off this list, but counting DNF’s feels like cheating so I’m not counting them. I have also tried to borrow from my local library electronically for some of the books I am reading, but they just don’t have the ones I am after in their library. Obviously, with everything going on right now the actual library is closed, so my options are limited with this right now.
So, this month I am going to be working a little harder on the Beat the Backlist Challenge, because that I can do! I’ve kept my blog tour schedule nice and light for other reasons – I was supposed to be moving house soon. Clearly, that’s also not happening right now! However, I would be daft not to take the opportunity to catch up with some of the older items on my TBR.
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.
I actually finished March’s TBR a little early (since I DNF’d Good Omens at 47%) so I have actually made a healthy start on this book already. I am getting the two blog tour reads done first, just in case things do ease off here and the move is possible. I’m not holding my breath, but I don’t want to count on it and then get myself in trouble as a result of being ill-prepared.
As it happens, my blog tour post for this book is due on Sunday, so naturally, this book is the first on my list. I’m really enjoying it so far, and you’ll be able to get my full thoughts on it on Sunday!
When you are a member of Britain’s first team of wizard spies, every mission might be your last. But as the dawning of the 20th century draws ever nearer, magic grows weak. Violectric Dampening, the clash of man-made electricity with the Gifts of magekind, threatens M.I.’s existence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve now been discharged from their own government. Obsolete. Distrusted.
And now hunted by one of their own.
Myra Wetherby has always feared her so-called fits, strange visions of people and places that she cannot explain. It is the emotional manipulation, however, a strange empathic connection to those around her, which threatens her very sanity. A danger to her family, Myra runs away, falling straight into the hands of the newly ousted Magical Intelligence team. Who just so happen to need an ability like hers.
Which makes Myra one of them . . . whether she likes it or not.
This is my second and last blog tour of the month. My post for this book isn’t going live until the end of the month, but I’m still reading it nice and early.
The synopsis sounds really good – and quite unusual! That’s why I wanted to read it and share a review for the tour coming up later this month. It sounds like it blends fantasy with mystery, two genres I really enjoy reading.
Bootleggers, coppers, and no good, dirty gangsters! During Prohibition, the parties were wild, the alcohol was flowing, and danger was never far away. Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner. Lost in a strange land, Pierce vows to keep his nose clean, but that doesn’t last long when he falls into the bootlegging racket. Pierce has to quickly adapt to a world full of diesel-fueled machines, airships, moving picture shows, and clashes with rival gangs. At the same time, he has to elude a hunter from his own time sent to kill him!
I downloaded a copy of Boom Time from BookSirens as I really like the sound of the synopsis. I really enjoyed learning about the Roaring 20’s in history, and this sounds like it takes a lot of inspiration from it! Okay, it’s a very exaggerated version, but why the heck not?
My love of fantasy novels is really shining through in this TBR, and I don’t feel ashamed of the fact either!
Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.
My first book contributing to my Beat the Backlist Challenge is The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. You may recall that I have been reading the earlier books in this second half of the series over the last few months. I bought my copy of this book last month knowing I would get to it shortly. It makes sense to pick this up whilst the rest of the series is fresh in my mind!
The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…
When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.
Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.
In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.
The Thief Taker is my second BtB entry. I really debated with picking this up in light of its inclusion of plague and current events. I decided to stick with it though because I do quite fancy the sound of it. It’s not like the Black Death is anything like our current epidemic.
I featured this book not that long ago in my Shelf Control series and I have been thinking about picking it up soon anyway. I have a lot of Brandon Sanderson novels on the oldest part of my list for the challenge so I am trying to break them up.
The bestselling feminist novel that awakened both women and men, The Women’s Room follows the transformation of Mira Ward and her circle as the women’s movement begins to have an impact on their lives. A biting social commentary on an emotional world gone silently haywire, The Women’s Room is a modern classic that offers piercing insight into the social norms accepted so blindly and revered so completely. Marilyn French questions those accepted norms and poignantly portrays the hopeful believers looking for new truths.
I have a lot of fantasy on this month’s list, so I have decided to pick up The Women’s Room as a change of genre. This is my third and final book contributing to my Beat the Backlist challenge. It is definitely quite a bit different from the books I pick up generally. We’ll see what I make of it!
The fifth volume, part two of A Song of Ice and Fire, the greatest fantasy epic of the modern age. Now a major Sky Atlantic TV series from HBO, featuring a stellar cast.
The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.
In King’s Landing the Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, awaits trial, abandoned by all those she trusted; while in the eastern city of Yunkai her brother Tyrion has been sold as a slave. From the Wall, having left his wife and the Red Priestess Melisandre under the protection of Jon Snow, Stannis Baratheon marches south to confront the Boltons at Winterfell. But beyond the Wall the wildling armies are massing for an assault…
On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all.
The second part of A Dance with Dragons is an ambitious addition to the TBR. It’s here as an “if I get through the rest I’ll start this next” book. I don’t expect to get this finished this month as well as all the above. If I get to make a start on it though, I’ll be happy.
It’s the last book of the series (that’s been published so far), so when I finish this I’ll have completed my re-read of the series!
That’s my list for the month! Have you read any of these books? What are you reading this month?
Today’s book review post features a science-fiction/thriller/horror novel that I gratefully received from the author in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis is really intriguing and very unlike anything I have ever picked up before. These Are Not the Trinity Papers is a real mix of genres, so even my best guess about what to expect from the synopsis was blown out the window… in a good way!
Isaac Beringer knows the thesis he penned during his psychotic fit was utterly absurd and he was right to be laughed out of academia. Yet decades later, he finds himself summoned to the United States by Elias Cohen, the CEO of a multi-billion dollar technological giant who just happens to be his biggest fan. Elias may be beautiful and brilliant, but Isaac knows he must also be extremely batty to consider Isaac’s thesis the greatest scientific work of the 21st century. He soon finds out how deep the rabbit hole goes; a rabbit hole that houses a sprawling neural network of servers designed to emulate human learning, human corpses 3D-printed with flesh and blood, and a monumental amount of effort to resurrect one particular person from the dead. And Elias isn’t even his only fan.
Isaac might have shaken off his insanity, but unfortunately, the world around him has just fallen in love with it.
Isaac Beringer lives a reasonably quiet and comfortable life on his farm with his wife. He doesn’t remember much about his psychotic episode all those years ago but frankly, he is happy to forget about the whole damn thing. Other people have different ideas though. Isaac and his ideas have acquired an intense following and there are several parties interested in a piece of his madness. Yet some are willing to go further than others to get it…
I really enjoyed the futuristic world-building of the novel. The technology is more advanced but the world itself is very familiar and not-too-distant to what we know. In my opinion, there is the right balance of technological advancement; Isaac and Elias’ work fits in with the current climate as a feasible possibility but isn’t so far along that the reader becomes alienated from the setting of the book.
Isaac has lived without the technological frills the world at large is used to; his way of life is very much like our own now. As a character, he is very affable and relatable. Elias is at the other end of the spectrum, with every kind of technology at his fingertips. Elias introduces Isaac to a whole new way of living and lifts him out of his monotonous life. His position lends his character a degree of arrogance initially, but as the book progresses we see more of the man behind the billion-dollar company and more about his personal ambitions and motivations.
Those that like LGBT representations in books will enjoy a particular character relationship in this book. It’s a little unusual given the age difference between the characters as well. But at the same time, it felt completely natural. It isn’t forced in any way. Their situation draws them together and it feels right. You know sometimes how LGBT representation is championed as normal (which it is), but then hyped up so much that it stands out like a sore thumb? Yeah, me too. It’s so contradictory it bugs me. However, if you want to read a narrative where this isn’t the case, I’m pointing you in the right direction. I’ve seen the LGBT relationship in this book described as understated, but I don’t agree with that. I’d say other LGBT relationships are overstated… but that’s just my opinion.
I really enjoyed the blend of genres that came together in this novel. They complement each other really well! I had no idea where this whirlwind of a story was going to end up and I was surprised constantly by what happened next! I really didn’t expect some of the elements of the book, so it definitely has the capability to surprise most readers.
Today’s Sunday Summary comes at the end of a very weird week. In less than seven days I have gone from going to work as normal to working from home; as an island, we have gone from quarantining all arrivals as a precaution to closing our borders and all residents under lockdown. It’s the right thing to do, but it is unsettling, to say the least!
I had scaled back my blogging this week in anticipation of moving house, but that has now been put off until everything settles down. I have no idea when that is, but I’m hoping it isn’t too long. So, aside from today’s Sunday Summary post, I have only shared one other post this week. On Wednesday I shared my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I had no idea what I was going to make of this book since it’s out of my comfort zone completely! I really enjoyed it though, even if it did make me cry!
Picking up from last week, I am still reading The God Game by Danny Tobey. I’ve progressed nicely from the 70 odd pages I had already read and I am now just shy of 360 pages in. My aim is to finish this book tonight after this post goes live.
I’ve also been thinking about Good Omens, which I haven’t really revisited. After putting this down to prioritise blog tours, I really struggled to pick this up again. I’ve been mulling it over and I have decided to DNF it. I wasn’t enjoying it so much that I looked forward to reading it, and I can’t get back into it. My Beat the Backlist Challenge isn’t going so well at the moment – I’ve DNF’d 2/5 books I’ve picked up!
I’m a little disappointed I haven’t read more this week, but I understand why I haven’t as well. My routine has all been up in the air and it’s thrown me off. As moving date was initially pulled right forward to this Friday I spent Monday furiously packing the essentials I had been leaving until last. However, on Tuesday it was postponed and I spent Tuesday night unpacking again.
There is better news about listening to my Crooked Kingdom audiobook though – I finished this today! I normally listen to audiobooks in the car when I’m driving, but since I haven’t been commuting I was worried that progress on Crooked Kingdom would stall. I have found a way to make this work though! Something else I have taken up (again) this week to keep myself occupied is crochet. I’m making a baby blanket for my friend’s little one, who is due to make her appearance anytime soon! I’ve found listening to audiobooks whilst doing this really easy! If you want a sneak peek of the blanket, check out my Instagram page!
I stumbled across an advert on Facebook for a locally based author on Saturday night, and so I started looking at a few of his books. I wasn’t sure if the advertised book was quite for me, however, I found The Seaside Detective Agency. The sound of this light-hearted mystery is perfect right now, especially with everything so sombre going on. Characters who are ‘bumbling idiots with the best intentions’ are what I need right now. I believe it’s set in my home town too, so I am interested to see how it’s portrayed!
If the novel were less satirical and more realistic, the PI’s in this would be brilliant. They’d know what was going on with you before you did yourself. Everyone knows the skeet* in Peel.
*Skeet is a Manx term, meaning gossip.
My blogging schedule will be back to its usual self next week.
My first planned post of the week is a review of These Are Not the Trinity Papers by Vale Zalecki. I was kindly given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review at the end of last year. I finished reading this at the beginning of February, so it’s time to put my thoughts together and share them with you.
Next up will be my reading list for April. With only my last couple of blog tours left to do, I have a lot of flexibility with what I can read. I have more time too, so I am hoping to squeeze a good few books in.
On Friday I’ll be sharing the next book in my Shelf Control series. This week’s book features a historical fiction novel set in a new time period for me to explore. It also has an unusual main character! I’m not telling you any more than that – such a tease I know…
On Sunday I am taking part in a blog tour so you can expect a review from me on that day. You can check out the details of the book in my reading list post. Don’t fret though, my Sunday Summary post will be published first thing on Monday morning, so you’ll be able to catch my weekly update post then.
That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post! How has your week been? What have you been reading?
Today’s review features a book that I was really unsure of when I borrowed it from my library in August last year. That’s precisely why I borrowed it from the library really. I didn’t want to purchase it in case I didn’t enjoy it. By picking it up I was trying something completely out of my comfort zone.
So, if it was completely out of my comfort zone, why did I want to read it? Well, I’ve read and heard great things about it, for a start. Not only that, but I was drawn into it by the fact that it handles a very sensitive subject: euthanasia. I’m glad I read it too! Whilst it was a gamble, it was one that paid off massively!
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
If I were asked to liken myself to a book character, I would have to say Louisa. She is a ditzy, clumsy, optimistic young woman who always tries to please others. She doesn’t always succeed, but she does her best. From the very first few pages, I felt like I knew her – I liked her. Her bubbly personality makes her instantly likeable and her evident flaws have you laughing along at her. Good naturedly, of course. Will is very much her counterpoint. After the accident that left him paralysed, he feels he has very little to live for. His friends and ex-girlfriend have long disappeared, his family broken apart from the strain of it all and he is trapped in the middle with no escape. His pessimism and sarcasm make him an entirely different character to Louisa, verging on unlikeable.
When Louisa takes on the job of caring for Will, she has no idea how that decision will change both of their lives. Did I expect to enjoy the romance element of the book? No. I didn’t really. It’s not my cup of tea, and yet, I couldn’t help but find myself warming to the two of them. Their relationship builds subtly over time. At first their differences set them miles apart but Louisa’s persistence wins through. We see a side of Will that he has tried so hard to close off, to make things easier at the end. Their feelings for each other don’t stem from a shallow physical attraction. It’s an emotional bond all about companionship. They see the worst of each other and it doesn’t matter.
Will’s position and views are difficult for a lot of people to come to terms with. His choice must be an impossible one to make. You would think his very contrary position would make him difficult to relate to, but I didn’t find that at all. The subject is handled so well. Me Before You is a very emotional book. I knew the ending, so I knew what I was getting myself in for anyway. Don’t worry; I made sure to finish this at home so I could bawl my eyes out without being judged. If you’re judging me now for it, you clearly haven’t read this book. I challenge you to read Me Before You and not cry.
Hey guys and welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! I hope you are all well in this crazy world we are living in right now. Since you hear about it absolutely everywhere else though, let’s not talk about it and instead distract ourselves with talk about all the fabulous books we can!
So, what have I been up to this week? My first post of the week was published on Tuesday. It had been about three months since I last shared a Top Ten Tuesday post, so I was long overdue one. In this week’s post, I shared my top ten reasons I love being a book blogger.
On Wednesday caught up with a book review for one of my favourite books in 2019. Regular readers will know just how much of a fan I am for Margaret Atwood and The Handmaid’s Tale. I really enjoyed revisiting and reviewing the sequel, The Testaments.
This week’s First Lines Friday post featured another of my favourite books. Sticking with my previous theme of sharing books I read pre-blog, I shared the introduction to a book I read for the first time as a teenager.
In last week’s Sunday Summary update I was reading Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson and about a quarter of the way through the book. I really enjoy reading Brandon Sanderson’s books, so it’s hardly surprising that I managed to finish this one on Friday this week. It picks up from The Alloy of Law nicely, and since that was also a recent read I got into it straight away!
After Shadows of Self, I picked up my ARC copy of The God Game by Danny Tobey. I’m just about 70 pages into the book at the moment and the story is coming into its own. I’m intrigued to see what this ‘game’ is and how the book progresses. So far it has been a nice and easy read.
And now onto the audiobook section. So, I still haven’t finished Crooked Kingdom yet, but I will VERY SOON! I have three hours and thirty minutes left, so I only have an hour more to listen to than I would get through normally in the week! I will finish it next week – I promise!
I’ve been really good this week and there are no additions to share. The sad news is, my local regular bookstore haunt is closing tomorrow until further notice. I’ll just have to make do with the hundred or so physical books I own already…
I wish I was joking. I counted them recently – it’s a ridiculous number. Am I ashamed? Absolutely not!
Things are probably going to seem a little quiet here for the next few weeks or so. I am going to keep posting as much as time allows, but I do have some other commitments that are going to take up some of my time.
With that in mind, I am cutting down my blogging schedule to a couple of posts a week. I’ll post my Sunday Summary updates as usual.
Midweek, I want to share another book review. I have plenty to get through! This week I am going to be sharing a review of a book that I borrowed from the library last year. I borrowed it rather than getting my own copy as I didn’t know what I was going to make of it at all. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but I am glad I read it. I wanted to read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes as it touches on the sensitive subject of euthanasia. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as I did!
That’s everything to look forward to next week and all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! What have you been reading?
Hi readers and welcome back to another First Lines Friday post!
I’m looking forward to sharing the opening lines of this week’s featured book. I am in love with this book, as well as the rest of the series it is the introduction to. They are books I know I will go back to and read again and again – they will never get old!
Can you guess the book from the introduction?
‘We should start back,’ Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them. ‘The Wildlings are dead’.
‘Do the dead frighten you?’ Ser Waymar Royce asked with just the hint of a smile.
Gared did not rise to the bait. He was an old man, past fifty, and he had seen the lordlings come and go. ‘Dead is dead,’ he said. ‘We have no business with the dead.’
‘Are they dead?’ Royce asked softly. ‘What proof have we?’
‘Will saw them,’ Gared said. ‘If he says they are dead, that’s proof enough for me.’
Will had known they would drag him into the quarrel sooner or later. He wished it had been later rather than sooner. ‘My mother told me that dead men sing no songs,’ he put in.
‘My wet nurse said the same thing, Will,’ Royce replied. ‘Never believe anything you hear at a woman’s tit. There are things to be learned even from the dead.’ His voice echoed, too loud in the twilit forest.
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.
Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.
Even if you haven’t read the books but watched the series, you probably recognised this by the early reference to the Wildlings. I love A Game of Thrones. I’ll hold my hands up and say I am obsessed because it’s true!
I first bought these books on Kindle in January/February 2012. Based on my order history on Amazon, I must have read this first book and then decided to buy the next few of the series in one go. My first time reading this book pre-dates my Goodreads account, so it’s a best guess. I have actually re-read this book a further two times, the latest in November 2018. I’ve gone on to read the rest of the series again too, with just the last part of A Dance with Dragons to go to complete the re-read.
Do you love A Game of Thrones? Have you read the series at all, or more than once? Let me know in the comments!
***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!
It’s rare that I pre-order books ahead of release, but The Testaments by Margaret Atwood was an exception. I’m glad I did too! Not only was I eagerly awaiting it for months, but it’s unique in that it has been written thirty years after its predecessor, The Handmaid’s Tale.
I was super excited to get my hands on this in paperback the day of release. I even joked that day that I had subconsciously dressed in the colours of the cover! When I went to go and get my copy though, my day got better. Waterstones stores had one signed copy each, and one person who pre-ordered won the competition to that copy. I wouldn’t count myself as lucky, but I do that day. I won the signed edition!
When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death.
With The Testaments, the wait is over.
Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.
In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.
“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” –Margaret Atwood
I’m glad Margaret Atwood didn’t try to emulate The Handmaid’s Tale too much. Trying to write a book in the same setting thirty years on just wouldn’t have been the same. It would have been disappointing. Furthermore, I really enjoyed exploring how Gilead’s society had progressed since the first book!
Having multiple narrators struck me as unusual when I first picked up the book – especially since The Handmaid’s Tale gives us just one perspective. Having read the book though, it works. It’s necessary too. There is no one person with all the information needed to tell of Gilead’s future. Each narrative voice is clear and identifiable from each other. Having each different perspective breaks up the story nicely. The length of each chapter is perfect to include all the action needed, but short enough to keep luring you in with “just one more”.
I feel sorry for this book in a way as it has a lot of poor reviews. Why? Because it isn’t a regurgitation of The Handmaid’s Tale… that it’s different. I feel like these people really don’t appreciate the sentiment behind the novel at all. You all have missed the point! Is The Testaments a necessary follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale? Perhaps not. It is fitting though. Society in 1985 was a lot different than it is today. We have far more freedom to be who we are without repression from others. Society isn’t static so why expect Gilead to be in a time warp? The fact is, the changes in Gilead and personal perspectives mirror the kind of changes in our own society.
I think The Testaments is the kind of book you are either going to love or hate. To be expected, I suppose. High profile books are often hit or miss on how well people rate them. Normally I am disappointed, but not with this one! I hope you readers love it as much as I did.
Hello lovely readers and welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! It’s been three months since I put together my last TTT post. They’re a favourite to read and a lot of fun to write!
Today’s post is all about celebrating what I enjoy about being a book blogger. If you think it’s easy, think again – it’s like a part-time job! I probably average around 6-8 hours a week writing blog posts, never mind the number of hours reading the books I feature. That being said, I love it. It doesn’t feel like a job when it’s something you love to do and it comes with a lot of perks.
Here are my favourite things about being a book blogger!
Lots of reading!
It goes without saying, but if you want lots of material for your book blog you have to read. The backlog of books you read as a child/teenager will only go so far. Talking about the same books all the time makes for stale content too.
I’ve always loved reading – a good thing, I suppose. It was actually my love of reading (and getting back into it after a long while) that prompted me to think about starting Reviewsfeed. I couldn’t tell you how many hours a week I spend reading. It’s such a habit that I couldn’t imagine not reading. I can probably count on one hand the number of days a year I don’t pick up a book all day.
Book recommendations EVERYWHERE!
The advantage of being part of a book-loving community is that we are all talking about fantastic books. Pretty much any blog hopping session results in stumbling across someone’s great review for a book that’s right up your street. I think it’s great. My TBR list not so much… but what book blogger doesn’t have a humongous list of books to read? It wouldn’t be natural…
Trying new things
Since starting my blog I have been a lot more adventurous in my choices in reading material. I basically only used to read fantasy novels… maybe the odd science fiction or rarely a historical fiction if I really wanted to push the boat out. Thing is, I’d get bored of the same old tropes and it felt like reading the same books over and over again. It’s one of the reasons I let my reading habit slip after I left school.
Before my blog started, I had never read a horror novel. Stephen King was a name I was well familiar with (obviously), but I hadn’t even entertained reading one of his books. I’m an idiot, I see that now! If you had told me I would go on to re-read books I hated at school, like Of Mice and Men and 1984, or I would read more such ‘classics’, I’d have laughed at you. Having an audience to write for, and encourage you, makes a huge difference. Without it I think I would be just as unadventurous as before.
Hot off the press
The great thing about working with publishers (or even just following them) is knowing what new releases are coming out, and when!
I hardly read them straight away, but there is the odd exception to the rule. My point is, I have the choice to drop every book on my TBR for a new one if I really want to. It has been known and I didn’t feel remotely guilty!
Taking part in blog tours
I’ve discovered a love for taking part in blog tours. That probably won’t come as a surprise to you if you know how many I take part in. This partly links to the above point, because it’s a great opportunity to try something new. Through taking part in tours I have read books that I wouldn’t have necessarily discovered myself.
I also enjoy tours as I get to support new or indie authors. I have many favourite big-name authors that I read as well, but I try to balance my content to feature lesser-known or upcoming names as well. They have great books and it’s a pleasure to recommend them to others with similar reading tastes to me!
Collaborating with authors
Honestly, working with indie authors is the best! I have worked with many authors through direct requests and through tours now. A good number of them have come back to me to ask for further reviews as well. It’s satisfying, and they are truly so grateful that you want to work with them. I love getting feedback from them.
I’ve given up tagging well-established authors in posts unless it’s for a tour because it won’t get acknowledged anyway. They don’t ‘need’ your publicity. Indie authors are the complete opposite end of the spectrum though. They’ll keep re-posting your material for months afterwards – and not necessarily just your reviews of their book(s). They are the heart of the community.
Collaborating with authors is just part of the process. This point is more broad-based though. By supporting authors, I mean helping them to by sharing my reviews on other sites than my blog. The more reviews a book has on Amazon and the like, the more likely they are eligible for promotions and increased exposure.
Being part of an amazing community
Sticking with the theme of community, everyone’s great really! There’s no rivalry or bitterness over viewer numbers or content. Everyone is so supportive and engaging with your content as well as their own. Sure, you get the odd spanner making ridiculous claims that book bloggers aren’t ‘real readers’ and such, but they are few and far between.
We are all around because we are doing something we love – sharing our love of books with each other!
Getting the odd “free” book
I say “free”, but they aren’t really free. There are two main ways of getting books for no cost in this community – winning it in a promotional competition or by receiving it with the expectation of a review. It might not seem like much, but it’s actually several hours of my time in reading the book before spending a couple more drafting and editing my post before it goes live.
Everyone likes a freebie, I’ll be honest. However, I take issue with those that automatically assume that a review following receipt of a “free” copy is a dishonest one – that I’ve been bribed with it. I’m looking at you Amazon. My hobby is all about sharing my honest thoughts about (and recommending) books with a community of readers. If I lie and my opinions can’t be trusted by the very people I am putting them too, I’m ruining my reputation and integrity. It does me literally no favours to lie.
Freedom to speak my mind
It’s not very often that you can speak your mind freely about something. I try my best in everything I do, but sometimes there’s a time and a place and it’s not it. The advantage of having my own little corner on the internet is that I can share my thoughts freely. Fact is, I like offering my opinion (whether you like it or not). Here, no one tells me to shut up or keep my opinions to myself!
Sense of achievement
I’ll be the first person to hold my hands up and say that I am awful for starting new things and not seeing them through for very long. I get bored or lose interest. My blog is the exception to that rule. Even when I started it, I didn’t know how long I was going to stick at it for. I started with a completely free one at first while I tested out my initial commitment. As I found my feet, I decided to invest in it and it’s taken off from there.
I couldn’t tell you how much of my time I have funnelled into my reading and my blog to date. A lot! It’s rewarding though. To be able to say I stuck at something, and to be proud of my blog is a great feeling. If even one person reads my content and decides to buy a book based on it, that’s all the satisfaction I need.
Are you a book blogger? What are your favourite things about being one?
Today’s Sunday Summary post is coming to you a little late since I was taking part in a blog tour yesterday. I hope you had a good weekend!
This week has brought to you a couple of blog tours. The first of those, a review of Helene by Karl Drinkwater, was shared on Monday. Helene is a short story that ties into this Lost Solace series. I really enjoyed the book, and writing that post. I also got some great feedback from the author, who has also asked me to review two further books of his off the back of it!
After my post on Monday I took a few days “off” so to speak (I had some personal stuff to catch up with!), and shared my next post on Friday. This week’s Shelf Control post featured a contemporary novel that I wouldn’t typically describe as my cup of tea. That said, I do really love the sound of the book based on the synopsis and I am always open to trying something new.
Lastly, I shared my blog tour review of Tooth and Blade by Julian Barr on Sunday. This book is really unique in that it combines Norse mythology and fantasy together with a strong female protagonist trying to find her way in a world where she doesn’t fit in.
My priority of the week was reading Tooth and Blade by Julian Barr since yesterday was my blog tour date. I actually read this book in a couple of days. These three novellas combined total around 288 pages, but honestly, it was so easy to read that they flew by! The story is unlike anything I have read before as well, so I was keen to see how events played out. If you want to read more about it, my link to my review is above.
After a great start to the week, I hit a slump midweek. After reading Tooth and Blade I picked up Good Omens again. All my blog tour reading is done at this point, so I was free to go back to it. I’ve struggled to get back into it though. I’ve picked it up three or four times this week, but I’ve not been able to stick with it. I distract myself with other things or my attention would wander. I don’t know why I’m not getting back into it, but there we are. I’ve read about 10% this week. That’s 50 pages, but it doesn’t feel like much of an achievement, to be honest. I’ll keep trying, but I’m going to take a short break from it.
After an unsuccessful attempt at returning to Good Omens, I decided to move on to the next book on my TBR. After reading The Alloy of Law recently I wanted to continue catching up with this series. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson is proving more successful in terms of reading. I only started this on Saturday night and as of writing this post, I’m already 25% through it. I reckon I can squeeze in another hour of reading before bed tonight. By the time this post goes live, I should be about 40% through, or close to.
I’ve chipped another couple of hours or so off my audiobook Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. The plot is really coming together now, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the gang get themselves out of the trouble they’ve landed in!
I’ve been pretty good this week, as I’ve been busy reading, trying to read or catching up with some other stuff I’ve had to do!
Now that all my blog tours are done for the month, I plan to share some reviews I need to catch up with. Before that though, it’s been a long time since I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post. This week, taking into account my blog’s 3 year anniversary is coming up next month, I want to share my top ten reasons I love being a book blogger!
On Thursday I’m sharing a review for a book I was dying to get my hands on last year. Little did I know that my copy of the book was going to be special! Yes, I am talking about The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. If I was intolerably excited before collecting my pre-ordered copy that day, I would have been worse that afternoon! It’s been five months or so since I read the book, so I can’t wait to finally set my thoughts down about it.
On Friday it’s the turn of a First Lines Friday post. I enjoyed featuring a book I read prior to starting my blog in my last First Lines Friday post, so I am going to try and do the same thing again.
Last, but certainly not least, next week’s Sunday Summary post will be coming to you on schedule.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s belated Sunday Summary post. Have you read any of these books?