Reading List: December 2017

Guys… I hate to break it to you, but IT’S DECEMBER!!! How did that happen so fast?!

This year seems to have gone quickly for me – well, the second half at least. This year didn’t get off to the best of starts. On the plus side, it was the foundation of finding a hobby in blogging so I cannot complain too much! You have to take every positive you can get!

Never have I managed to read so many books in one year, and I’m proud I’ve stuck to my challenge. I have five books left to finish my 60 book challenge (after finishing The Black Prism, it’ll be four), and I’m confident I can do it!

I was hoping to be a little closer to my target. I have ended November still reading The Black Prism by Brent Weeks and I am yet to touch F.ormerly by Dane Cobain, which is the last book on November’s list. I’ve had a bit of a slow month I guess, which isn’t a problem… but I’ll be carrying this book forward as a result.

 

Remember For Me – Diana Tarant Schmidt

Remember For Me

Remember For Me – Goodreads

Clara Eros thought her life was ending with Alzheimer’s. She was mistaken. A war between good and evil has raged for as long as humanity has existed, and the balance of power between its forces has always remained equal. But that longstanding balance has begun to shift, and the survival of mankind may be at risk. What is the source of this duality, and how do the proponents of light and darkness use humans to further their cause? When Clara Eros awakens with no memory, her questions are fundamental: who is she; and why is she here? The answer she receives is predetermined and singular: she has been recruited to fight a battle against the reign of darkness. But is Clara just a pawn in a much larger game? Once her transformation is complete, Clara finds herself, in body and mind, as a younger, stronger version of the person she can no longer remember, and now she must search for the common thread hidden within malevolence and turn the tide in a war where humanity is succumbing to chaos and brutality. Will she be strong enough to bring humanity back into the light?

I was grateful to be approached by Diana with a request to read this book. Whilst having an element of fiction, it touches on a sensitive topic of Alzheimer’s, but I’m glad it is being brought to the forefront of discussion. I am looking forward to seeing how the theme is portrayed, and who knows, maybe I’ll get an idea of what my gran experienced in the last few years of her life.

 

Seeker – David Noë and Laura Loolaid

Seeker

Seeker – Goodreads

Jewel Harper, a junior specialist in a successful bounty-hunter group, returns from a routine mission only to find a new contract already prepared – a private contract to rescue a brother she didn’t know she had. The mission takes Jewel to a few different homeworlds — and into some trouble. She will learn that pretty much everybody knows more about her family than she does.


This is a stand-alone story set in the ChaosNova universe. Humans have spread to new homeworlds in a “goldilocks cluster” somewhere in the Galaxy, where the many homeworlds harbour several dominant civilizations as well as various local cultures, ancient and new. This story-verse, borne of forum-based roleplay and collaboration between several authors, holds many more characters and adventures, with varying degrees of connection to the central arc. Some of those stories are being written now, many are yet to be told.

I was excited to be approached with a request to read this book, too. I love the concept of how the ChaosNova universe was created and how it is written collaboratively – it is what makes it unique. It has also been some time since I have picked up any books in the science fiction genre, so I am really looking forward to picking this up!

 

F.ormerly – Dane Cobain

Former.ly

Former.ly – Goodreads

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences.

But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.

So I was supposed to read this last month and unfortunately didn’t get around to it. This is a book I have downloaded via Netgalley, and it drew my attention as it features a kind of modern technology that is potentially relevant to today’s society.

I have mixed feelings about social media. Obviously, when used correctly and safely it is a useful tool to keep in touch with friends and relatives. By very nature, bloggers use the Internet and social media in order to get books and their opinions out there. There are people that abuse this technology, sadly. I’ll outright admit that I am against the idea of social media use featured in the book. I’m curious to see if my feelings are justified or not.

 

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity – Goodreads

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

This just sounds like it is going to be fantastic – and whilst I don’t like to focus on this when I opt to read a book, I couldn’t help but notice that it has a high rating on Goodreads! Anyone who follows my blog will know I have a lot of interest in history and historical fiction, so this should be right up my street.

 

Rewired – S R Johannes

ReWired

ReWired – Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.

It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.

With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWired delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWired is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.

Between reading this Seeker and F.ormerly this month, there is definitely a “technology” theme going on, but I think I’ll enjoy it! I tend to read more Fantasy than anything so it will make a refreshing change. As I have already voiced, I have a bit of mistrust on the use of social media (for privacy reasons) so I’m sure I’ll take something away from this read!

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If I manage to read all these by the end of the month, it means I’ll have completed my reading challenge and I’ll have read one extra book too! I didn’t want to be too optimistic and try to read six because:-

  1. That hasn’t worked the last two months
  2. IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!!

So, now my reading list is sorted… it’s time to panic about Christmas presents…

Chao!!

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Reading List: November 2017

Happy Halloween, guys!!

Technically where I am from, we don’t celebrate “Halloween”, in the strictest sense. A lot of our local history is steeped in Celtic tradition, so instead, we celebrate an alternately named (but basically the same) holiday!

ANYWAY… back on subject! Tomorrow is the start of a new month so it’s that time again, ladies and gents, to share with you my reading list!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to complete my October list. It was ambitious, I’ll admit, but I was the idiot and piled too much on my plate, so now I have to play catch up.

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I am both my own worst enemy and my greatest critic, which is amazing, considering there are so many people out there who are more than happy to put you down. I really need to remember that I have achieved a lot this year and I ought to be proud of myself. I don’t think I’m the only person who feels this way. We all have our own insecurities, after all.

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1  My Life As Steve Keller – Zach Baynes

My Life as Steve Keller

Goodreads – My Life as Steve Keller

One man’s journey through twelve cities, three decades, and four lovers, all while living with the realities of climate change and technology. The stories about food and history will make you want to travel, and the charming dialogue will make you smile. The book depicts two of the most basic needs in life, that neither technology nor the passing of time can erase: the need to be loved and the need to be protected.

So this is the first of two independent review requests I received this month, and I am very much looking forward to sharing my thoughts about this book with you. This looks to be a little different from the usual thing I would pick up, however having checked out a preview on Goodreads – I think this is something new I will enjoy!

 

2  Aaru – David Meredith

Aaru

Goodreads – Aaru

“…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future…”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

This is the second book of the month that I am reading on request.

I was extremely glad to have been approached about this. Nobody deserves to suffer, but especially not children. I already know three people who I went to school with, that have suffered terminal illnesses and passed away as a result. It’s awful! In an ever-changing world and with advancing technology, is everlasting life a possibility? Is it a desirable thing? I really hope this book challenges these ideas.

 

3  The Weight of Shadows – Karl Holton

The Weight of Shadows

Goodreads – The Weight of Shadows

When you have spent your life in the shadows, what would you do at the dying of the light?

Three years ago the best murder detective in London is blamed for the death of his colleague and kicked out of the Met.
A man with secrets buried in the past and present returns to London, the city that started the mysterious career which made him a billionaire.
The two need each other.
But they have no idea how much.

A gripping crime thriller mystery with twists from the beginning to end.

I decided this month to try something a little different. Whilst I am not adverse to the genre, I don’t read much in the way of crime/thriller, although I do have plans to read more books within this genre. I don’t know much about this book, so I am almost taking a leap of faith with it. I see a lot of people testifying that it is a good way to approach a book, as there is no prejudice.

 

4  Zero Debt: Break the Debt Cycle and Reclaim Your Life – Neeraj Deginal

Zero Debt

Goodreads – Zero Debt

“Yes, being debt-free is POSSIBLE. If I could do it, then, anyone can do it!”Neeraj Deginal

Zero Debts – Break the Debt Cycle and Re-Claim Your Life, is about the author’s ten-year long journey from going neck deep into debt to being absolutely debt-free.

 

In this book you will learn:


How the author got into debt (circumstances)
How being in debt paralysed cognitive decision making
How even simple day to day life became complicated
The thought process applied by the author to analyse his situation rationally
Systematic steps taken by the author to become and stay debt-free and the dilemmas faced during execution
Further actions taken to simplify life and plan for a better life

This book seeks to inspire the reader to become debt-free, which eventually leads them to total freedom, be it, financial freedom, emotional freedom or freedom from stress.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author via The Book Club, so thank you very much!! As a general rule, I don’t normally reach for self-help books. I read to escape reality. One of the last things I like to confront myself with is problems, (be they real or potential ones).  I am going to hold my hands up and say that whilst I am perfectly on top of my finances, I feel this book could be worth deviating from the norm. It is good to learn from other people’s experiences; let’s not forget our circumstances can change in the blink of an eye.

Last year, I had to contend with being made redundant. At this point, I had moved into and was financing my own flat. I would be lying if I said that wasn’t a stressful time for me. Thankfully everything worked out, but it is best to prepare for every eventuality.

 

5  The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

The Black Prism

Goodreads – The Black Prism

Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

Fingers crossed I will actually get around to reading this book this month…

I’m sure I will – I’m making sure my schedule is a little more manageable. I’m not making that mistake again.

 

6  Former.ly – Dane Cobain

Former.ly

Former.ly – Dane Cobain

When Dan Roberts starts his new job at Former.ly, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences.

But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.

This is a book I have downloaded via Netgalley, and it drew my attention as it features a kind of modern technology that is potentially relevant to today’s society.

I have mixed feelings about social media. Obviously, when used correctly and safely it is a useful tool to keep in touch with friends and relatives. By very nature, bloggers use the Internet and social media in order to get books and their opinions out there. There are people that abuse this technology, sadly. I’ll outright admit that I am against the idea of social media use featured in the book. I’m curious to see if my feelings are justified or not.

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You may also have noticed that with the exception of one book, I acquired all of these for free..? Guilty!! Not only do I have to think about Christmas soon (yep, it’s that time), I also have a short trip away with some of my female friends that I have to plan for. Every little helps, right? This will not impact my posting schedule – I’ll be sure to plan ahead so you guys don’t miss out!

So that is my reading list for November!! Has anyone read any of the books featured on the list?

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Reading List – October 2017

October is nearly upon us!! Where has this year gone? I think back to when I started this blog back at the end of April and it seems like it was yesterday. Well, not quite, but you get the picture…

I normally publish my reading list on the first of every month, however as I don’t want this post to interfere with my Sunday summary post, I have decided to publish this list a couple of days early!

I’m not making my life very easy next month because I am setting myself a mammoth challenge. I have two ARC’s to read plus an additional three books. I know this is less than my September reading list, but take a look at which books I am reading and perhaps you’ll understand…

 

1  The Kitsune in the Lantern – Daniel Curry

The Kitsune in the Lantern

GoodReads – The Kitsune in the Lantern

“You were chosen by Yako, the bringer of Darkness.”

Join Argus Todd and his friends as he uncovers a great power exploring an old ruin, that has stood for decades in his town.
Inari, an age-old Kitsune must train Argus in his new gifts, in order to stop the chaotic Yako from bringing the darkness to our world.
But Yako appears a complex character, and all may not be as it seems…

Debut novella from author Daniel Curry, for Children and Teens. Experience the magic of the power of the Kitsune in this first book of a brand new series.

I am very kindly being provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book is marketed as for children / YA and it should make for an interesting read! This is Daniel Curry’s debut book release… so watch this space – a review to follow.

 

2  The War Queen – J M Robison

The War Queen

GoodReads – The War Queen

Altarn is the first woman to hold the position of State Head in Blindvar. When Lord Kaelin, State Head of Ruidenthall, propositions her to merger with their states, Altarn believes it’s his subtle way of taking her state for his own, making himself king. On the cusp of war, she rides in disguise to her last ally, Luthsinia, to ask for help.

During her journey, Altarn is ambushed but rescued by a man called Torren who offers her protection. Quickly they realize they share a mutual attraction. Upon their arrival to Luthsinia, Altarn receives news that an army has invaded Blindvar in her absence and blames Kaelin. Except it’s not Kaelin’s army, because she discovers Kaelin is in Luthsinia for the purpose of spying on her to take her land. And Torren is not who she thought he was.

Taking advantage of the unraveling situation, Kaelin kidnaps Altarn so he can take her state without her in the way and brings her to Ruidenthall. There’s a war ship on the horizon, led by a fallen angel craving mortal worship. Kaelin realizes he needs Altarn’s help to fight this army if he’s to save his state. She’s forced to agree, but how will she react when he’s wounded in battle? If she lets him die, can she fight the enemy on her own? Or if she saves his life, will he still try claiming her state, or try claiming her heart?

This is the second ARC I have been kindly provided with and will be reading this month. Not only is the genre of this book right up my street, having read the first chapter online this looks to be full of promise and I cannot wait to read it!!

 

3  IT – Stephen King

IT

GoodReads – IT

It was the children who saw – and feel – what made the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread.

Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as it sirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

So… now you guys might have realised what I meant by my mammoth challenge this month. For anyone who is unaware, this book is HUGE. In fact it is 1,376 pages long, and once completed, it will trump War & Peace at being the longest book I have read a) this year, b) all-time.

No pressure…

 

4  The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings

GoodReads – The Way of Kings

Speak again the ancient oaths,
Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

And return to men the Shards they once bore.
The Knights Radiant must stand again.

Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of Knights fell, their Shardblade swords and Shardplate armor still transform men into near-invincible warriors. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.

In one such war on the ruined Shattered Plains, slave Kaladin struggles to save his men and fathom leaders who deem them expendable, in senseless wars where ten armies fight separately against one foe.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Fascinated by the ancient text namedThe Way of Kings and troubled by visions of ancient times, he doubts his sanity.

Across the ocean, Shallan trains under eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece Jasnah. Though Shallan genuinely loves learning, she plans a daring theft. Her research hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

In the Down the TBR Hole post I published yesterday, I announced the little spoiler that there would be a Brandon Sanderson book featuring on this month’s TBR, and here it is. I haven’t read any of his books for so long, and this was personally recommended to be by a friend, so I felt it was time to pick up one of his books again.

 

5  The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

The Black Prism

GoodReads – The Black Prism

THE BLACK PRISM begins an action-packed tale of magic and adventure . . .

Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

If I’m completely honest, I will be delighted if I get to start this book by the end of October, never mind finish it. It’s not that it can’t be done… but it will be a big push. I added it onto the list to try to motivate myself to push through any difficult periods, but as to whether it will work or not remains yet to be seen.

Brent Weeks is another author I haven’t read for a long time. Back when I read the Night Angel series, The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows, I fell in love with his writing so I’m looking forward to picking this book up. It’s been on the TBR FOREVER!!!

What books are you reading at the moment?

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Reading List: September 2017

It’s Friday and the beginning of a new month, which makes for one happy weekend of reading for me!

As usual it’s time to publish my reading list for the month ahead, so without further ado, here are the books I am planning on reading this month:-

 

1  Men At Arms – Terry Pratchett

Men at Arms

Corporal Carrot has been promoted! He’s now in charge of the new recruits guarding Ankh-Morpork, Discworld’s greatest city, from Barbarian Tribes, Miscellaneous Marauders, unlicensed Thieves, and such. It’s a big job, particularly for an adopted dwarf.

But an even bigger job awaits. An ancient document has just revealed that Ankh-Morpork, ruled for decades by Disorganized crime, has a secret sovereign! And his name is Carrott…

And so begins the most awesome epic encounter of all time, or at least all afternoon, in which the fate of a city—indeed of the universe itself!—depends on a young man’s courage, an ancient sword’s magic, and a three-legged poodle’s bladder.

GoodReads – Men At Arms

Terry has been a regular haunt on my reading list this year and this month is no exception. This next installment of the Discworld series goes back to characters who made their debut in Guards, Guards!, being the eighth of the series. As ever I look forward to Pratchett’s unique sense of humour and the escapades Carrot and company get themselves into.
2  American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies…and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing – an epic war for the very soul of America – and that he is standing squarely in its path.

GoodReads – American Gods

I bought this book back at the end of May and I have been looking forward to getting around to picking it up ever since! I have noticed a lot of reviews flying around for both the book and the recent TV series which makes me anticipate reading it even more. Where I have seen reviews, I have tried fervently to avoid them so as not to spoil it for me. What little snippets I have seen though seems positive. I also recently read my first Neil Gaiman book, Stardust, which I enjoyed too.

 

3  Bad City

Bad City

In the violent world of post-apocalyptic South Town, Eli Baxter is king, ruling from the thirteenth floor of his building while henchman do his bidding. Simon Gray, a talented young thief, now disillusioned with South Town, is desperate to escape with the woman he loves. As he plots their journey north, glimpses of his childhood in South India and Northern Ontario reveal the world as it once was, fueling his desire to break away. But when he’s handed a new job, one that will make Eli untouchable, Simon realizes that escape – and transcendence to love and a peaceful way of life – might be harder than he thought.

Dark, atmospheric, and gritty, Bad City is the debut novel by Matt Mayr and was a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

“Degrees of blood and violence like a shockwave of radiation, an eternal extension of the darkness that came hard and fast when the river poured into the city.”

GoodReads – Bad City

I can’t help myself when it comes to dystopian/post-apocalyptic themed books. I quite often wonder just how much society would break down and chaos run riot in the streets if a major disaster happened to us. I sincerely hope it doesn’t *touches wood*, but it is something interesting to mull over whilst driving on the way to work or doing the dishes. Our way of life and attitudes are largely governed by other people and general expectations. Given the opportunity, just how would these rules be tossed aside and life change?

In case you hadn’t gathered – my mind wanders a lot. I am always looking for one form of escapism or another. I will perfectly admit I have full scale conversations/debates with myself in my head. I have been known to be lying in bed to go to sleep at night and one or another burning question pops into my mind:-

4  The Maze Runner – James Dashner

The Maze Runner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

GoodReads – The Maze Runner

Here’s a confession for you all. I broke my rule and watched the film first.

Truthfully, I had heard of the book before but thinking I wasn’t going to be that interested in it, I shoved that tidbit in the mental cardboard box equivalent to the “unless junk” pile you have somewhere. Don’t try and lie to me. You have one, I can see the guilty look on your face right now.

Joking aside, I really enjoyed the film. I think I had recorded it for emergency TV should the schedule be any more abysmal than it usually is. It didn’t disappoint. What I hadn’t realised until the end of the film was that this isn’t a standalone book! Bonus!

 

5  Dunstan – Conn Iggulden

Dunstan

The year is 937. England is a nation divided, ruled by minor kings and Viking lords. Each vies for land and power. The Wessex king Æthelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, readies himself to throw a spear into the north.

As would-be kings line up to claim the throne, one man stands in their way.

Dunstan, a fatherless child raised by monks on the moors of Glastonbury Tor, has learned that real power comes not from God, but from discovering one’s true place on Earth. Fearless in pursuit of his own interests, his ambition will take him from the courts of princes to the fields of battle, from exile to exaltation.

For if you cannot be born a king, or made a king, you can still anoint a king.

Under Dunstan’s hand, England may come together as one country – or fall apart in anarchy . . .

From Conn Iggulden, one of our finest historical writers, Dunstan is an intimate portrait of a priest and murderer, liar and visionary, traitor and kingmaker – the man who changed the fate of England.

GoodReads – Dunstan

When I read about this book it couldn’t help but remind me of another series I am making my way through at the moment, being The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell. This book is set a little further along the timeline of history to Cornwell’s fiction but I love the history behind it.

One of my colleagues at work introduced my to the Last Kingdom series and the history of the Danish coming to Britain. I couldn’t bring myself to use the word invasion there. That says a lot. The colleague in question is Danish whilst I am British so it makes for some interesting conversations; to be fair she can see both sides of the argument. Given my love of this period, I want to learn the history from another authors perspective.

 

6  Making History – Stephen Fry

Making History

In Making History, Stephen Fry has bitten off a rather meaty chunk by tackling an at first deceptively simple premise: What if Hitler had never been born? An unquestionable improvement, one would reason–and so an earnest history grad student and an aging German physicist idealistically undertake to bring this about by preventing Adolf’s conception. And with their success is launched a brave new world that is in some ways better than ours–but in most ways even worse. Fry’s experiment in history makes for his most ambitious novel yet, and his most affecting. His first book to be set mostly in America, it is a thriller with a funny streak, a futuristic fantasy based on one of mankind’s darkest realities. It is, in every sense, a story of our times.

GoodReads – Making History

This is a very last minute addition to the TBR for this month and it has been recommended to me by another colleague. Having each discovered we, in our own separate ways, dabble in the realms of  writing I introduced him to my blog. His contribution involves writing weekly articles in one of our local newspapers, which from this day forward I solemnly swear to read every week since you have given me some great advice. It’s also nice to have someone to talk to properly, as opposed to many halfhearted conversations with people that either don’t care or think I’m crazy! I’m not going to testify I’m not crazy – I let everyone draw their own conclusions…

After discussing my recent review of Extracted – R R Haywood  he thought I would find this book to be an interesting read as it raises some of the similar complications I refer to in my review. I also haven’t read anything by Stephen Fry before either, so I’m looking forward to that too.

 


 

So there you have it – that is the official TBR for this month. Now I have said this on purpose. Normally it would be a push for me to read six books in a month. As it happens, I have a wonderful two weeks off work planned this month, (yay!!). Whilst I have plans for a few of those days, I should have plenty of time to fit in lots of reading.

Can’t you tell how gutted I am?

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Reading List: August 2017

We are officially into August and into the height of Summer! I will always associate August as being Summer as that is when I used to go on holidays with my mum and dad and of course, school was out. For me, it was the best time of the year.

So this month I’ll be starting by finishing the last book of my July list, being A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I didn’t quite get to finish it since Magician took me a little longer than anticipated to read.

Here is a list of the other books I am planning to read this month. If any of these catch your eye please look out for my reviews of these books as well:-

1 Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett

Lords and Ladies

GoodReads – Lords and Ladies

Yes guys, I’m going back to one of my favourite authors this year and one of the best (and longest) series of books I have read. This also features some of my favourite characters on the Discworld, including Granny Weatherwax and her coven of witches! I love the escapism you get whilst reading of the wild adventures of the Discworld, yet somehow when the book is finished you realise that between all the magic and lunacy (and it’s hilarious lunacy at that), there is something you can take away from the book that really smacks of the world we live in. I daresay the madness isn’t as far from the world we live in as we would like to think… expect Earth isn’t transported through space and time on the back of a giant turtle of course.

2 River God – Wilbur Smith

River God

GoodReads – River God

My granddad used to read a lot of Wilbur Smith, apparently. I only found this out fairly recently, having stumbled across a newer release of his in a local bookshop with my mum in tow. I think the book we stumbled across was called Pharaoh. I also share a lot of my reading “ventures” – for want of a better word – with a colleague of mine and when telling her about this I found out she too had read Wilbur Smith and enjoyed his books. We have similar taste in books so at that point I decided to give this a go. It’s completely new to me, but I’m excited. It’s also for me a way to get closer to my grandad. Sadly all of my grandparents are no longer with us, so if I can take the time to enjoy the things they did I see that as one of my ways of remembering them.

3 A Tale of two Cities – Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities

GoodReads – A Tale of Two Cities

I hold my hand up and say I have never read any Charles Dickens – not even A Christmas Carol. It’s one of those films I like to try to watch every year, as well as Miracle on 34th Street (but it has to be the 1994 version with Richard Attenborough as the man in red). I think I have just committed myself to reading the book this year out of shame!! As much as I say I have never read any of the works of Dickens, I’m not saying I am unfamiliar either; I have never taken the time to appreciate these works is all. Whilst I am finding myself with an appreciation for classics, I’m jumping right in to read as many as I can.

4 The Lady of the Rivers – Philippa Gregory

Lady of the Rivers

GoodReads – The Lady of the Rivers

I love history and I think I pretty much always have. Whilst the potential was always there my real love for the subject was kindled by two excellent teachers we had at our high school, husband and wife – they were a load of fun. They had done well for themselves, even have written textbooks distributed around schools on the subject, but equally they were the kind of teachers that would happily let you watch a film and where necessary narrate the historical context of what was going on. There was also the bread sticks too…

I have digressed from my point slightly. As I have said, I love history, but whilst I was at school I didn’t get the chance to study the Wars of the Roses… which is silly really because that is far closer to home than the likes of the Cold War and America from 1920-45.

I have heard great things of Philippa Gregory as a historical writer so this should be a great indulgent read. My sister also managed to buy me the second book of the series, The White Queen, for a pound just a couple of weeks ago. Saving money on book buys is always a bonus!!

5 Extracted – R R Heywood

extracted

GoodReads – Extracted

This book caught my eye as it also has some element of history involved. I will openly admit in the past I haven’t been inclined to read much in the way of science fiction. In fact I think my sci-fi library goes as far as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The War of the Worlds and some short stories by George R R Martin. My dad is definitely a science fiction lover by comparison. I can’t explain what it is, but a lot of the time, I can’t take to them. It’s funny really: you would think my love and purpose of reading as a form of escapism would allow me the greater ability to stretch the imagination in order to read these books. A lot of the time however I am not inclined to read it, with a few exceptions. I’m making one for this book however, so fingers crossed I haven’t made a mistake.

6 Pet Sematary – Stephen King

Pet Sematary

GoodReads – Pet Sematary

I add this last book to my list tentatively, as I may not get to finish it this month, but I’ll sure as anything give it a try! Horror is also a new genre for me to read; I have steered clear of horror as I absolutely detest horror films. To set the record straight, this is not because they scare me… I think they are so predictable they don’t scare me at all. I’m hoping with writing it will be more suspenseful rather than cheap shots at scaring people by having something jump into the camera for a quick “thrill”. Do me a favour… this is not entertaining at all. I’m also trusting that dipping my toes in the water with a Stephen King novel will be a safe way to start exploring – I already know I like his writing style!


So that is how I’ll be spending my free time this month – I’m sure keeping busy! As well as all this reading you can catch me here with updates as to how I am getting along.

Has anyone else read any of the books listed above? If so, what was your verdict?

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Reading List: July 2017

As if July is here already?! The year is flying by… it’ll be Christmas before we know it!

No seriously, it really will. Hate me for saying it as much as you wish…

 

Let’s tactically cast away those worries for another day. The most planning ahead I am doing extends as far as the end of July and working out how many books I can cram into the month… so without further ado here is the list for my July reads:-

 

The Last Wish – Andrzej Sapjowski

The Last Wish

GoodReads – The Last Wish

I first came across the character of Geralt and the concept of the Witcher through the first game of the series. Admittedly, I haven’t played too much of it as my laptop is getting somewhat ancient compared to modern tech and it doesn’t even run it very well, but I know enough of the character as a foundation for the book. I’m being adventurous for me as this will be the first book I read from the Polish writer too, so fingers crossed I fall in love with this one and that’s another series to add to my TBR!

 

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Stardust

GoodReads – Stardust

I have heard amazing things about Neil Gaiman. He has also co-written books with other authors I love so whilst I have not read any of his books yet, I’m trusting Terry Pratchett in that he recognised a good author when he saw fit to write Good Omens with him. They were also good friends if I recall the documentary I watched about Terry earlier this year. This will be another first for me.

 

Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King

LOTR Return cover

GoodReads – Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

I cannot wait to finish this trilogy… I recently finished “The Two Towers” and absolutely loved it. Tolkien’s writing isn’t the easiest to read if you aren’t in the mood – one lapse of concentration can get you lost; equally, he can have you completely enraptured in the world of Middle-Earth! I’ve managed to steer clear of the books, films and my equally fanatical friends so I don’t actually know how it ends – I’m probably one of a minority of the population! Not for long…

 

Magician: Apprentice – Raymond E Feist

Magician Apprentice

GoodReads – Magician: Apprentice

This is actually going to be a re-read for me. I must have initially read this book maybe three or four years ago – I cannot recall. I remember I was living with my parents still, but that is about all. It is such a lengthy book and I have had the next two in the series to read for years as well, but I can’t move onto those because I genuinely don’t recall what happened in the first one…

Oops! I was obviously paying a lot of attention, wasn’t I?!

 

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange

GoodReads – A Clockwork Orange

I remember seeing this in a guide-book of books to read before you die; it’s only when I saw one of the versions of the book cover again I recognised it! I truly don’t know what I’ll make of this one – it tells the tale from the perspective of Alex, a 15-year-old boy institutionalised. It discusses morality and freedom, and the effect of “reforming” these individuals. It isn’t the sort of thing I would automatically pick up, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons and so it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

GoodReads – The Handmaid’s Tale

Has anybody else been watching the series on Channel 4?! If not I implore you, even if you don’t like the book, or books in general, please give it a try. There have been a few classic books which have made it onto the TV screen, in an attempt to target the likes of my generation, including War & Peace on the BBC last year. All I will say for the last scene of the last episode aired on Sunday just gone; I’m glad I didn’t have to watch that whilst living with my parents… parents and “intimate” scenes are just completely awkward.

Normally, I don’t watch things before I read the books. I have actually tried this book in the past and didn’t get on with it. I think it is a maturity thing now that I can appreciate classics more so I’m going to re-try this one.

 

So there you have it – I hope you look forward to the reviews as much I do reading these!

Until my next review, happy reading!

Rebecca  🙂

Current reading List: June 2017

Hi folks!

Further to the review I posted yesterday I have been reading the next book on my list: Witches Abroad by Terry Prachett!

It’s a new month and I am coming to the end of the last reading list I gave you for May, so without further ado, here are my planned reads for this month:

1. Lords of the North – Bernard Cornwell

This is the third installment of the series written by Cornwell, in which we follow the movements of the Danish invasion of Britain after 800 A.D. The narration is told from the perspective of Uthred, who has conflicting ties with both sides and struggles to find his place in the ever changing world.

2. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – J. R. R. Tolkien
This clearly needs no introduction! I’m looking forward to this one having re-invigorated my passion for it watching the first film the other night. I have had the kindle editions of the books for some time but as the narrative can be a little hard to follow, I have to psyche myself up to it. I definitely have now so I’m going for it!

3. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

This should be a quick read for me. I read the book for the first time whilst studying at school as a part of my GCSE’s, and can hand-on-heart say that this is the only book I genuinely enjoyed studying at school. I’m looking forward to re-reading the text again from a slightly more mature perspective.

4. Small Gods – Terry Pratchett

Back to one of my favourite series’ for the next book. These are excellent, light-hearted reads with amazing humour from Pratchett. These books took some getting into (i.e. books 1 & 2) personally, but now that I have, I’ve fallen for them hard.

5. The Gunslinger – Stephen King

I have only just begun to give Stephen King’s works a try and I’m looking forward to trying this one. Those that follow my blog will know that I have not long read “The Green Mile” – shameless link to my review and discussions here The Green Mile – Stephen King

I downloaded a sample of this book some time ago, however after reading The Green Mile I decided I was going to buy the book even without trying it as I’m sure I’ll love it too. Apparently there is an upcoming film of this to be released starring Idris Elba *drools* so I’m going to have to read the book before this hits local screens. I believe it is being released in August in the US, so I’ll have to wait just a LITTLE bit longer. Sad face.

 

Any-who, these are my intended reads for June so I had best get those pages turning! As ever, if you have any comments to the above please drop them below!