Category: For Fun

First Lines Friday – 12/08/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to my First Lines Friday post to wrap-up the working week! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Sometimes I like to experiment with something new!

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post I wanted to feature a book that is on this month’s TBR. I wanted to pick it up last month, but I ended up reading another non-fiction book completely on a whim. I am excited for this particular read, and I’ve owned my copy of this book for a couple of years.

Here is today’s First Lines Friday intro: –

 

Most of recorded human history is one big data gap. Starting with the theory of Man the Hunter, the chroniclers of the past have left little space for women’s role in the evolution of humanity, whether cultural or biological. Instead, the lives of men have been taken to represent those of humans overall. When it comes to the lives of the other half of humanity, there is often nothing but silence.

And these silences are everywhere. Our entire culture is riddled with them. Films, news, literature, science, city planning, economics. The stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future. They are all marked – disfigured – by a female shaped ‘absent presence’. This is the gender data gap.

 

 

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed For Men – Caroline Criado Perez

Genre: Non-fiction / Feminism

Pages: 321

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: 5 Mar 2020

 

 

Discover the shocking gender bias that affects our everyday lives.

Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued.

If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman.

Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives.

From government policy and medical research, to technology, workplaces, urban planning and the media, Invisible Women reveals the biased data that excludes women.

Award-winning campaigner and writer Caroline Criado Perez brings together for the first time an impressive range of case studies, stories and new research from across the world that illustrate the hidden ways in which women are forgotten, and the impact this has on their health and well-being. In making the case for change, this powerful and provocative book will make you see the world anew.

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve set myself a goal to read more non-fiction. Invisible Women appeals to me for what I hope are obvious reasons. The issues that this book highlights affect me.

The danger with a lot of the things covered in this book is that the world has been designed not for women, but more so out of negligence to understand our differences from men. It’s these kinds of issues we need to bring to the forefront in order to make changes.

I am more vocal than I have ever been before about things. When I was younger, I used to keep myself to myself. Sometimes it was easier, but other times it meant I was ignored or taken advantage of. I don’t allow that to happen anymore. If I have something to say, I will say it.

I’ll always try to say it in a constructive way, or at least an honest way. Armed with the information in this book, I would like to raise my own awareness of issues experienced by women so that I can help educate others. Who knows, if enough people shout about the same issues, we can encourage positive changes.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Invisible Women; has it caught your interest?

 

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First Lines Friday – 22/07/2022

Hello everyone – happy Friday and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love. They might be books I am interested in and/or are on my TBR. Equally, I can even just experiment with something new in these posts! I make the rules! 

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post I wanted to feature a book I have owned for a very long time and have every intention to pick up soon! I have featured this book in a few posts of late (in my Top Ten Tuesday – Books I was SO EXCITED to get but haven’t read, for example), and it’s playing on my mind how long I’ve had this one. Looking for material for today’s post, I decided to take a look at the opening lines and I was pulled in immediately. I can’t wait to pick up this fantasy novel in the coming months!

Let’s jump into today’s intro!

 

Forest litter crunched under Evnis’ feet, his breath misting as he whispered a curse. He swallowed, his mouth dry.

He was scared, he had to admit, but who would not be? What he was doing this night would make him traitor to his king. And worse.

He paused and looked back. Beyond the forest’s edge he could still see the stone circle, behind it the walls of Badun, his home, its outline silvered in the moonlight. It would be so easy to turn back, to go home and choose another path for his life. He felt a moment of vertigo, as if standing on the edge of a great chasm, and the world seem to slow, waiting on the outcome of his decision. I have come this far, I will see it through. He looked up at the forest, a wall of impenetrable shadow; he pulled his cloak tighter and walked into the darkness.

 

 

Malice – John Gwynne

Genre: Epic fantasy

Pages: 628

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Tor

Publication Date: 1 Dec 2012

 

 

The Banished Lands has a violent past where armies of men and giants clashed in battle. An uneasy peace reigns, but now giants stir once more, the very stones weep blood and there are sightings of gigantic worms. Those who can still read the signs see a prophecy realised: sorrow will darken the world, as angels and demons make it their battlefield.

Young Corban watches enviously as boys become warriors and yearns to join them, determined that he will make his family proud. It is only when everything he knows is threatened that he discovers the true cost of becoming a man.

As the Kings look to their borders, and priests beg answers from the Gods, only a chosen few know that the fate of the world will be decided between two champions, the Black Sun and the Bright Star. And with their coming will be a war to end all wars.

 

My Thoughts…

Malice has been on my TBR since at least 2016 – but realistically longer. That’s the earliest I can recall owning this book. It pre-dates having my blog so I have no means of going back to work out when I obtained my copy of this book.

I did start reading this book, but only very casually. I had picked it up prior to 2016; I distinctly remember packing up the book as part of my things when I left a job in February that year. The book had a paperclip in it as a means of marking the page. To this day you can see the indent of where the paperclip sat for so long, at the beginning of chapter 3 on page 29.

That tells you how far I got!

I have heard so many good things about John Gwynne, and I’ve seen all the books of his that I want to read. Naturally, it makes sense that I start with reading the book I physically own first. Not only that, but Malice is his debut novel and it comes highly recommended! As an epic fantasy with over 600 pages, it is right up my alley!

I plan on reading this book within the next couple of months, and I can’t wait to dive in and tell you what I think. I am really hoping to love this book, because as I said, there are others of his that I want to pick up. But, more importantly in the short term, this is the first part of his The Faithful and the Fallen series. If I go on to love this book as much as I hope, then I have another new series that I can enjoy.

Have you read Malice, or any other books by John Gwynne? Would you recommend them?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Quotes from A Game of Thrones

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday freebie post! With complete discretion this week as to the subject matter, I’ve been looking at some of my highest ranking blog posts in order to decide what I think you would like to see.

Some of my most-viewed post types are about my favourite book quotes – those include my top five quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series so far and my Quintessential Quotes post featuring quotes from Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archives. In addition, one of my top-viewed book reviews is A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

With this as my inspiration, I’ve decided to combine the two together and share my top ten quotes from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, better known as A Game of Thrones! I previously shared a quintessential quotes post based on A Game of Thrones, over four years ago. However, in that post, I only share five of my favourite quotes. Since I have re-read the series, the quotes I chose to feature have both changed and expanded, although there are some quotes that remain firm favourites! 

I have broken the quotes down into which book they come from, so you can go and find them for yourself if you wish!

 

A Game of Thrones

 

“If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.”

 

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

 

“My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind … and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

 

“We all need to be mocked from time to time, Lord Mormont, lest we start to take ourselves too seriously.”

 

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”

 

A Clash of Kings

 

“Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less.”

 

“The wide world is full of people wanting help, Jon. Would that some could find the courage to help themselves.

 

A Storm of Swords

 

“You are grown so very great now, yet the higher a man climbs the farther he has to fall.”

 

A Feast for Crows

 

“He understood the way that you could sometimes fall right into them, as if each page was a hole into another world.”

 

“I prefer my history dead. Dead history is writ in ink, the living sort in blood.”

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s quick and easy Top Ten Tuesday post! It’s always exciting to feature one of my favourite books and series of all time!

Have you read A Game of Thrones or any other books/short stories by George R. R. Martin? Maybe you’ve watched the TV series? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Shelf Control #50 – 15/07/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to my Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is one of my blog’s regular features (typically fortnightly on a Friday, though I do post some other bits and pieces now and then). It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and 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!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

I feel like I’m calling myself out a little bit here in today’s Shelf Control post. Today’s featured book is a sequel to a series that I have started twice. I re-read the book again originally to refresh my knowledge of the plot and prompt me to complete this series. However, I am yet to do so!

Do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 432

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Mass Market Paperback

Publication Date: 7 May 1985

 

Goodreads – Silverthorn

A poisoned bolt has struck down the Princess Anita on the day of her wedding to Prince Arutha of Krondor.

To save his beloved, Arutha sets out in search of the mystic herb called Silverthorn that only grows in the dark and forbidding land of the Spellweavers.

Accompanied by a mercenary, a minstrel, and a clever young thief, he will confront an ancient evil and do battle with the dark powers that threaten the enchanted realm of Midkemia.

 

My Thoughts…

This series is one I really need to get back into.

I initially read Magician as a teenager, and I ended up going back and reading the book again in 2017 because I wanted to pick up the series in earnest. However, I am still yet to continue. I do still remember some of the events of the first book, so perhaps I’ll do a little bit of online research on the plot and read my review of Magician again just to catch myself up rather than reading it through again. Again!

When I checked this out for today’s Shelf Control post, I was initially confused as this is marked as the third book in the series. I have only picked up one, however, I picked up the edition that combines Magician: Apprentice and Magician: Master. So effectively, I’ve read the first two books, and Silverthorn is genuinely the third.

I own this particular book on Kindle, and I own the edition that combines the third and fourth book – Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon. I have all the books to finish The Riftwar Saga, so I just need to get on and do it!

Have you read Silverthorn or any other books in this series by Raymond E. Feist? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Mid-Year Review of 2022 Goals/Resolutions

Hello everyone and welcome to my mid-year review post for 2022. In this post I’m going to take a look at the goals I set myself at the start of this year in my 2022 New Year Goals/Resolutions post. I’m going to evaluate where I’m up to so far, amend if necessary, and maybe even add another…

At the beginning of the year, I set myself three primary goals. After a year off, I wanted to take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge once again. I enjoyed my break, however, I felt that taking part in the challenge provides me with some much-needed motivation. I also set myself a challenge regarding how I structure my reading. In previous years I have gone from one extreme of setting a static list for the month, to setting no list at all. I found that neither approach works perfectly for me, and so I challenged myself to take a more hybrid approach. Lastly, I set myself a challenge to get more organised with my blog post writing.

Of all the challenges set so far, I feel like the last of those is the only one where there is a lot to be desired. But, more on that below!

 

Existing Challenges

Goodreads Challenge – 40 books

40 books isn’t an overly ambitious target (for me), but it’s one that I felt I could reasonably achieve. When you consider that last year I only read about 25 books, it’s a step up. Equally, my record has been reading 72 books in one year.

That is a lot, and I don’t think it’s an amount I will ever achieve again. It’s partly because I went so hard at this that I ended up slumping last year. I’d rather take a slower and steady approach, and this is how I got to my target of 40.

At the end of June, I had completed 23 books and only DNF’d one! I’m pleased with this progress, as not only am I on track, but I’m also not so far ahead that I’ve made the challenge too easy. In previous years I have upped my goal because I had underestimated myself.

Here are the details of the books I’ve read in the last six months: 

Obviously, things can change in the next six months. I will be doing another review at the end of August with regards to my Goodreads challenge, but for now, it’s staying where it is!

 

Reading Lists

I have definitely been taking a more flexible approach to my reading list, although I don’t think I found the balance just yet. It may be that this is a constantly moving target and I just need to be a little bit adaptable with myself.

At the beginning of the year, I was setting myself a monthly TBR that was approximately 2/3 fixed and 1/3 flexible. I thought I would benefit from having more in the way of structure, with the opportunity to pick up anything I like at the end of the month if I get through those books. There are months where this worked, and there are months where this didn’t work quite so much.

It is only more recently that I have allowed myself a little more freedom. I was finding that a lot of the time, I wasn’t really getting to my mood reads, or I was only just getting to them towards the end of the month. That doesn’t really give me what I was setting out to achieve.

Quite by chance, I tried a different approach in June. When trying to set myself a TBR, I kept changing my mind as to what I wanted to read. I only had one real reading commitment, and so in the end I decided to set this as my only fixed read and to allow myself the flexibility with everything else during the month. As it happens, I did end up sticking with the books I’d penciled in, but I think the mentality that allowing myself the flexibility gave me motivation. This was also during a time when I had an exam to prepare for, and in theory, it should have been one of my worst months. But in reality, I think it was my best!

I want to continue with this more flexible approach in future.

So, in the meantime, I’m going to set myself a limit of only setting half of a monthly TBR as ‘fixed books’, although if I can be more flexible with myself then that is what I will try to do. This is dependent on reading commitments, so I’m not going to sign myself up for too much so that I can’t fulfill this goal.

 

Blog Post Writing

At the beginning of this year, I set myself the challenge to be more organised with writing my blog posts. Primarily, I wanted to pull my finger out and get my posts scheduled at least a week in advance. That way, if there are any unpleasant surprises, or I’m not in the mood, I had some leeway to get post out to you on time.

This is the only goal that I haven’t done so well with. I am still writing posts pretty much as and when they are scheduled to go up. This very post itself is already delayed from my original intended posting date, so that illustrates how I’m still struggling with this!

I’m going to make a concerted effort to start preparing my posts in a more timely fashion. It won’t take that much effort, but I just need to be a little bit more disciplined with myself in order to make this change a habit. Once it’s a habit, it’ll be golden.

 

New Challenge

Read more Non-fiction

I am well on the way with two out of three of my existing challenges. I have been considering adding an additional challenge for myself this year, and I have plenty of books that will allow me to do this.

As an avid learner, I would like to pick up more non-fiction books. Be it memoirs/biographies, histories or books aimed at personal development, I would like to explore the genre in more detail. It is one of the least read on my blog overall, and I would like to change that.

With this in mind, I am setting myself the challenge of reading/listening to at least one non-fiction book a month. I can either include this as part of my fixed TBR, or I can pick it up on a whim. Tying in with my existing challenge regarding reading lists, I’m going to make this fit within that. In June I listened to Hell by Jeffrey Archer, one of his prison diaries published in 2003. I have another non-fiction book ready for my July TBR, so this is a good start to this brand-new challenge!

So, that is where I am up to with my 2022 goals, and what I would like to make progress with in the next six months.

Have you set yourself any goals for 2022, and are you on track?

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/06/2022

Welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post, I decided to keep my subject open. Whilst it is fun to set myself a challenge sometimes, I didn’t have any inspiration or idea as to what I wanted to do. So, I kept it open and I’ve had a good long think; I’m really happy with the book I’ve chose to feature today.

Can you guess what it is?

 

 


Memorandum for: Executive Director Frobisher

From: Ghost ID (#6755–4181–2584–1597–9 87–610–377-ERROR-ERROR…)

Incept: 01/29/76

Subject: Alexander dossier

___________________________________________________

So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.

I won’t bore you with the tally of databases plundered, light-years jumped, or cute, sniffling orphans created in its compilation – our fee already reflects Level Of Difficulty. But this dirt is out there, if you know where to look. It seems your cleanup crews weren’t quite as thorough as you’d like, and your little corporate war isn’t quite a secret as you’d hoped.

 

 

 

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Illuminae

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve had my eye on this book for some time. The story is told through a compilation of correspondence and documentation as opposed to traditional prose, which interests me. This is something I’ve read and enjoyed recently (The Appeal by Janice Hallett). Given that I liked this one as much as I did, I can’t wait to try another book in this format. I’ve already decided, given the format, that I want a physical copy of this book/series. I talked about this in my top ten bookish wishes post earlier this week

I’m also a fan of Jay Kristoff. I first listened to his Nevernight Chronicles trilogy, and from there fell in love. I’ve gone on to purchase physical copies of these books to read again, and more recently, purchased and read Empire of the Vampire. This is my favourite read of 2022 so far, so I’m really excited to pick up something new by him.

Collaborations with other authors can be a bit hit and miss, but as I haven’t read anything by Amie Kaufman yet, I don’t feel like I can judge. I will just have to see how this goes! If I go on to enjoy these books then I have another series I can pick up that is co-authored by this duo. It’s a young adult science-fiction novel, which I feel like will be up my street! Especially considering I am reading a young adult science-fiction book by Brandon Sanderson at the moment, and really enjoying it. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read Illuminae, the rest of the series or any of the other books also written by these authors? I’d love to know in the comments!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Wishes!

Top Ten Tuesday posts were created by The Broke and the Bookish and then hosting moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

When I saw this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, I knew I wanted to share my version of this post. It’s a fun way to tell you what I’m really excited to read next, and also to consolidate my thoughts on the books I actually want to spend money on and rather than those purchased in the spur of the moment. I’m also going to include the format in which I want to obtain a copy of the book.

That’s important to me. I don’t have the most space in the world (although I am endeavouring to fill as much of it with books as possible!) and so I try to purchase e-books or audiobooks where possible. I will only buy physical copies of books by authors I really, really love. For the most part. There are some whimsical purchases now and then. As and when I have a clear out, these would be removed if necessary.

As most of these books are very high on my reading list, most of them I will be looking to purchase in print. There may however be a few exceptions.

The original aim of this post is for the blogger like me to include a link to a Wish List so anybody can purchase a copy of these books for me. I’m not doing that. I don’t expect anybody to buy books I want to read, other than myself. If I receive copies as gifts from friends or family for an occasion, then that’s fair and I’m really grateful. I don’t expect anything though, so I’m not setting up this facility.

Anyway, enough waffle. The books on this list broadly fall into two main categories – sequels or books awaiting publication. There are just a few exceptions to this rule and I’ll talk about those later in the post.

 

Awaiting Publication

It’s not very often I find myself waiting on a new release that isn’t a sequel. By far, I read more books in a series than I do standalones. Some of these books have been on my list for sometime, but others are also fairly recent.

The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss is by far the oldest book awaiting publication on my TBR. I remember really enjoying The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’ Fear – the first two books in the series, as a teenager. I have also read The Slow Regard of Silent Things, but I didn’t enjoy this novella quite as much as I did the other books. We have been eagerly awaiting this third novel in the series for so long that I will have to go back to the beginning once we get a publication date so I’m back up to speed; I haven’t read these books in about 10 years. At one point I had physical copies of the series, but I don’t think I do anymore. So, I’ll probably buy a Kindle copy.

Another big one on my list is The Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin. The good thing with this is that I am far more up to speed with the events of this series. I have read the books multiple times and watched the series as well. It will be interesting to see if the book surpasses my expectation based on the series! As I have the rest of the series in paperback (as well as Kindle and audio), I’ll definitely be looking to purchase The Winds of Winter in the same way.

The last book in the section is one that I’ve added to my TBR recently. I read Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff last month and it has been my best read of 2022 so far. The second book in the series is currently in the works and when I was doing some research, I couldn’t even find a title or cover for it yet. So, as a placeholder, I’m just going to have to call it Empire of the Vampire #2. This is certainly going to be a physical copy, and if I can, I’ll get a hardback so I’m consistent with my existing copy of Empire of the Vampire.

 

 

Sequels

Sequels by far make up of the majority of this list when you include the three books awaiting publication as well. However, the section is dedicated to sequels of books I’m reading that have been published and I am free to get whenever I’m ready.

Golden Son is the second book in the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. As I enjoyed the sound of the first book, I decided to pick this up as something different. It is a dystopian science-fiction novel and it’s one that I enjoyed far more than I expected to. I purchased this original book on my Kindle and so I’ll be doing the same with Golden Son.

Firefight is also the second book of the series, but this one is Brandon Sanderson’s The Reckoners series. I’m really loving Brandon Sanderson‘s writing, but if I purchased every single book of his I enjoyed, I would have no room left in the house. Instead, I will probably cherry pick the best of the best once I read more of his work to own in physical copies. So, when I get my hands on Firefight, this will also be on my Kindle.

My second Brandon Sanderson book in the section is Cytonic. Contrary to what I’ve just said above, I already own copies of Skyward and Starsight in physical format. In fact, I am reading Skyward right now and I’m really enjoying the book. It’s different from his usual works as it is written for a younger YA audience. If I go onto enjoy this series as much as I think I will, then this is one of his I will be keeping. However, I’ll see how I go before I commit to purchasing the third book in paperback.

Lastly, I have some books from a reasonably new to me author on this list – Robin Hobb. I have just dived into Assassin’s Apprentice earlier this month, and I’ve already purchased physical copies of the rest of that trilogy ready to read. I fully expect to love these books!

What I also enjoy about the structure of her books is that there are multiple series within the same realm. I have just The Farseer trilogy for now, but there are plenty of other books to dive into later on – and that’s what I’m going to be doing.

I’m going to complete The Farseer trilogy first before I commit to buying any more books, but I fully expect that I’ll get the rest of the series in paperback too.

 

Other

I have a few anomalies on this list that do not fall into the above categories.

Technically, I already own a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. However, I’ve already read this book twice and I know it’s one I would like to go back to time and again. I also have a copy of The Testaments in physical format, and so I would like to backfill and purchase a physical copy of The Handmaid’s Tale (in hardback if possible, to match).

I also have a book that is not directly a sequel, but is part of a series written by Elizabeth Wein. It’s not directly a sequel as it doesn’t follow on from the same characters; instead, it follows events and different characters throughout World War II. I read Code Name Verity on my Kindle (which is technically the third book of the ‘series’) and so I would like to get Rose Under Fire in the same way. Depending on how well I get on with his book, I might go back and read the first two books.

The last book on my list is the real anomaly because it is the start of a series as opposed to a sequel. I’ve read and enjoyed numerous books by one of the co-authors. Not only that, but the way in which the book is written makes me want a physical copy, as the story is told through compiled media. Much like The Appeal by Janice Hallet, Illuminae isn’t straight prose. There is a lot more to take in and it is far more of a visual experience. I’ve known I want a physical copy of this book (and probably the rest of the series if I enjoy it) since I added it to my TBR.

So, those are my top ten bookish wishes! I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and taking a look at which books I have my sights on.

Did any of the books in today’s post catch your eye? What are your bookish wishes? I’d love to know in the comments!

 

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Shelf Control #49 – 17/06/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is one of my regular features (typically fortnightly on a Friday)  It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies and it’s all about featuring/celebrating unread books on our bookshelves! The idea is to pick a book from your TBR that haven’t read yet and 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!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

It has been a few weeks since I last shared a Friday feature, and I’m excited to share today’s with you. Having never read this author before, I’m really keen to jump in. I’ve heard great things and he is one of the big names in his genre.

 

The Litigators – John Grisham

Goodreads – The Litigators

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!

It almost seems too good to be true.

And it is.

The Litigators is a tremendously entertaining romp, filled with the kind of courtroom strategies, theatrics, and suspense that have made John Grisham America’s favorite storyteller.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m always looking forward to trying the works of a new author. Whilst I own a copy of Rogue Lawyers, I haven’t yet read any books by John Grisham. That said, I am looking forward to giving his writing a try. I have experience of enjoying courtroom thrillers in the past… and I think the premise of this particular book is interesting.

I’m confident that this is a book I am going to enjoy. The author hasn’t become a household name for no reason, and someone from work has read and enjoyed his books. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s who I got my copy of Rogue Lawyers from. Someone from Finance had a clear out (due to a lack of space, not a dislike of the book) and brought in the books so anyone who wanted them could help themselves). You can be sure I did – although I only picked up this one!

I’m hopeful that I enjoy this book, as it means that a new world opens to me in terms of the number of books I can read. John Grisham has published over 40 books (according to his own website), so I have plenty of reading material provided I get on with his writing style.

Have you read The Litigators, or any other books by John Grisham? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Discussion Post – Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Choosing to pick up a book outside of your comfort zone can be scary. What if you don’t like it?

Well, I suppose you can say that you’ll never know if you don’t try it! Today’s discussion post is all about trying to encourage anyone to try reading something out of their comfort zone now and again. I read a lot, and I read the vast majority of genres. That wasn’t always the case though. However, there are genres and topics that I consider myself ‘not to read’. That’s not to say I don’t pick them up once in a while! How do you know you don’t like something unless you take the plunge and give it a go?

If you want to try something new, but don’t quite know how to do it, you can find some suggestions below that might help you on the right track… Or prove to you that your judgement was right in the first place. Who knows? You win some and you lose some!

 

Try a new genre/sub-genre/combination

With such a wide variety of books out there, there is no way you have tried every single possibility. It may be that you have never tried one of the main genres before. Before I started my blog, I wouldn’t pick up horror books. It wasn’t something I thought I’d enjoy.

As a first step, I decided to pick one of the most prominent authors in that genre – Stephen King, and give one of his books a try. My first ever read was The Green Mile. Not only is he an iconic author of the genre, but I picked this book because I was familiar with some the story. I hadn’t ever watched the film in full, but I’ve seen enough snippets of it that I had a rough idea of what was going on. That helped immensely! Having some sense of familiarity helped me gel with the story, and let the new experience of the author and his writing style (and the genre) shine through. I’ve gone on to read a number of King’s books, with plenty more still on my TBR.

Sometimes it isn’t as easy as that though. Maybe you don’t know or recognise a prominent author to start with. In which case, I would recommend picking up a book that ties into multiple genres… or is of an audience you relate to. For example, if you want to try to read a book aimed at a younger audience as opposed to an adult book, choose one in a genre you already know and like. Likewise, if you want to try and branch out into another genre, find a book where that genre overlaps with one you already know you get on with. There are so many combinations nowadays that I think you can find something to get you started.

 

Book Clubs/Buddy Reads and Readalongs

If you need a push to pick up something new, then joining a book club or a readalong can be a great way of encouraging you to do so. A group may be able to vote on the book chosen, but ultimately, it’s the overall result from the group that decides what book gets picked up.

And sometimes, that’s not the one you want.

There is nothing wrong with this; in fact, I’d argue that this is a great thing. Not only does it give you the encouragement to try something you wouldn’t pick up on your own, but it also gives you the opportunity to talk about why you come to like it (or don’t – that bit’s up to you). It makes you think about your reading tastes and really define what works for you and what doesn’t. You can then take that forward and try new books with that element that you have found you liked. And who knows, by reading other books that have the same, you may find another topic/theme/genre that you haven’t come across before and also enjoy. And so it snowballs.

If you don’t have the confidence to be a part of a group, then having a trusted friend instead could be a solution. It will be a lot easier to read the book together and pace yourselves in such a way that you can have a more structured discussion every few chapters, if you wish, or even just be able to meet up more regularly to talk about it and have more detailed/meaningful conversations!

 

Recommendations

We can only read so many books in our lifetime, but one of the most valuable resources we can use when it comes to sharing the book love and recommendations is each other! We all have our own slightly different tastes, but we can also have a lot in common with others. If you have a trusted person or a group of individuals with which you have a lot in common, they can give you some really good recommendations that align really well with your tastes. Maybe you already take them up on some of them.

But, it is also true that they can recommend great books that don’t necessarily fit in to your idea of ‘your kind of book’. If you already trust this person’s opinion regarding your similarities, then it’s a reasonably safe bet to trust them on your differences too. They are the best people equipped to give you a recommendation, so why not take a chance and take them up on it?

 

If in doubt, don’t wig out – understand you reading tastes

You aren’t going to love every single book on the planet. For most of them, there’ll be things you like and things you don’t. I have a pretty good idea of what I like and what I don’t like based on my diversity of reading. That is something that comes with experience… and pushing the boundaries now and then.

For example, I don’t really enjoy romance as a genre. However, I will occasionally pick one up (I read The Duke & I by Julia Quinn in May), or read a book where this overlaps with another genre, such as historical romance or fantasy romance. I read The Duke & I, and overall I neither loved nor hated it. There were bits I didn’t like, and unless you read books like that, you don’t really understand what it is you don’t like about them.

My biggest problem with this book is that it flaunted how characters are treated differently based on gender. Men are deemed attractive if they are roguish and rakish, but women couldn’t possibly put a foot out of line or be seen doing anything inappropriate lest they ruined theirs and their family’s reputation. That is what I don’t like… and that’s not necessarily a reflection on the book.

Another example; I have previous experience where I have not enjoyed a book that was not written in traditional prose. Yet, I’m currently reading The Appeal by Janice Hallett, and the story is told through the written communications between characters (text messages, emails, letters etc). Just because I didn’t enjoy the writing style of Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to enjoy The Appeal either. Neither are written in traditional prose, but they are both very different from each other too.

Another example of this is Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. The story of this book is told through interviews of characters after the events of the book have happened, and one of the characters (the interviewer), we don’t know at all. These are all completely different styles, but all testament to the fact that you shouldn’t dismiss one because they have a loose similarity to another. Of the three books, I disliked one but enjoyed the other two.

Instead, define more precisely what you don’t like about a book. The thing I didn’t enjoy about Girl, Woman, Other is that it was written like prose, but it lacked the traditional grammatical structure we expect.

You can see in both of these examples that I have read books out of my comfort zone, and from that experience I’ve been able to take away exactly what I liked and didn’t like. Yes, I didn’t like the gender differences in The Duke & I, but I liked the narrative style. It was easy to read and despite my niggles, it didn’t stop me finishing the book.

On the other hand, I couldn’t finish Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. One of the biggest factors for me is a book’s writing style, and if I really can’t get on with it then it doesn’t matter how good the story is – I can’t finish it. Again, this is something that I’ve learned through experience. I’ve picked up books that haven’t worked out for me, and that’s fine. You don’t have to love everything you read. And if you are concerned about spending money on books to then not enjoy them, then there are ways around this too. If you have an e-reader, you can download a sample to try the book before you buy. Many people will probably have access to a library, or at least an e-library. So, if you’re really not sure, try and borrow it!

 

Conclusion

Try to push your boundaries now and again. You don’t have to do it very often, you don’t have to do it very much. How far you want to take it is entirely up to you, as is the means in which you do so. All I can say is that I have learned a lot about my reading preferences by trying something out of the box.

There are times when it doesn’t work, and that’s fine. You’ve learned from it. There have been many more times where I have found something that I’ve really enjoyed and gone back to again; the experience has broadened my horizons. And I will continue to do so. Once upon a time I was a teenage girl who almost exclusively read fantasy books. Look where I am now… still a predominant fantasy reader, but I also read a wide variety of genres around that. All because I pushed my boundaries.

As with everything, reading taste evolves. I’ve already established that mine has changed significantly in the last 10 years. But just because I’ve pushed the boat out before, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop reading out of my comfort zone. I want to pick up new and different books. One of the biggest changes I would like to make is incorporating more non-fiction into my TBR.

Dare I say it, I want to try my hand at romance books that tackle difficult topics. I really enjoyed Me Before You, which centres around a character who wishes to end his own life. That was a romance and I really enjoyed it, even though it was upsetting to read. There are romance books that centre around abuse and other less savoury elements of life rather than just mushy plot lines. Who’s to say I won’t enjoy those? I can’t… until I’ve read them at least. 

If I can push myself, I have every faith that you can too, and I hope this post gives you some inspiration to do so and how to go about it if you’re not sure!

When was the last time you tried something out of your comfort zone?

 

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The Last Book I… Book Tag!

Hello and welcome to today’s ‘The Last Book I…’ Book Tag!

When I was deciding what to post at the beginning of this week, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I wanted to keep the subject quite light as I have a book review coming to you on Friday as part of a blog tour. I wasn’t keen on this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme either (titles featuring a number in them). Fortunately, I recently found this book tag over on Dini Panda Reads blog and I was banking it to take part in at a later date. This is the exact scenario I was keeping it for, so I am going to be sharing my answers for this tag today.

If you like the look of this tag and you want to take part then please feel free to do so! I’d love to see your answers as well so as I’ve done above, I’d really appreciate if you’d link me in your post so I can take a look!

And now, onto the questions!

 

The Last Book I… Bought

I purchased two books on Sunday  – my current read, Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb as well as Master of Sorrows by Justin Call.

I have been meaning to start Robin Hobb’s books for a long time. Not only have I seen a number of reviews over the blogosphere and BookTube, but most importantly, my friend Rachael loves this book and the wider series. A little earlier this year I committed to starting it soon, and I’m really glad I have! I’m already about halfway through the book and absolutely loving it!

I purchased a copy of Master of Sorrows is having heard great things about it. Most prominently, a BookTuber I watch (Ashleigh at A Frolic Through Fiction) has really enjoyed this first book and recently read the second. It’s on her recommendation, and my general interest in the book from the synopsis, that I’ve decided to purchase a copy.

 

The Last Book I… Borrowed

The last book I borrowed was The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I was recommended this book by my sister’s boyfriend Chris and he very kindly loaned me a copy so I could give it a try and see what I think. I’m very lucky as well because he has now loaned me the second book of the series, The Man Who Died Twice.

I enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club because it was on the one hand quite a lighthearted read, but at the same time had its prominent moments. Overall it’s a very funny book to read and very approachable for that reason. Based on my thoughts for the first book I am looking forward to reading The Man Who Died Twice.

 

The Last Book I… Was Gifted

The last books I would have received as gifts would probably have been received for my birthday. Looking back, I received copies of The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling).

At the time of receipt, the first of those books was already on my TBR and as a result of receiving a paperback copy, I added The Silkworm to my list too.

 

The Last Book I… Gave to Someone Else

I last gifted some books at the beginning of April to my friend Rachael. I have been re-reading a brilliant fantasy series this year, and I decided to gift her a copy of The Raven’s Mark trilogy for her birthday. I think we have similar reading tastes, especially when it comes to fantasy books, so I hope she enjoys these.

I also gifted this trilogy back in December to Chris, and he read the entire thing within about three weeks. That boosted my confidence in the recommendation, which is why I felt comfortable enough giving these to Rachael.

 

The Last Book I… Started

The last book I started is my current read, Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb.

I started this on Sunday night after I published my Sunday Summary update post, so just a few days ago. I am already nearly 200 pages in which works out to be about halfway through the book. Honestly, I would be further into it were I not revising for an exam at the end of the month. I’m really enjoying it, and finding that I’m thinking about it even when I’m not reading it.

 

The Last Book I… Finished

On Sunday morning I finished reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.

I was actually pleasantly surprised with this book as I haven’t taken to Neil Gaiman’s writing style particularly. I haven’t loved any of his books, and there are some that I just haven’t enjoyed at all. Ultimately, I picked up Norse Mythology as I owned a copy of the book and because I wanted to give him one last try… but on relatively safe ground.

I enjoyed his re-tellings of Norse Mythology tales. I must admit I am not well versed in them at all, so I haven’t read any of them before. Based on this experience though, I would definitely dip into norse mythology again… and just maybe read another Neil Gaiman book provided it was on the right subject/genre.

 

The Last Book I… Rated 5 Stars

This book is one that you are going to find out a lot about on Friday, as Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter is the book that I am reviewing as part of a blog tour.

I really, really enjoyed this book! This is the second book in The Eagle of Mercia Chronicles and it follows the adventures of Icel. The book is set in England during the time that Vikings invaded and settled in Britain. That said, the conflicts within the plot centre around divisions between Saxons in Mercia and Wessex. If you are familiar, you can see why this kind of book would appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwell‘s The Last Kingdom series. I am fans of both!

What is really unique about this perspective, however, is that Icel does not enjoy the traditional role he is expected to play of a warrior. He certainly does his duty, more so than the first book, but he does not relish killing. He is a healer. It’s a completely unique perspective based within this timeline, and the internal conflict he has between his conscience and his duty makes for an interesting read.

All in all, the book has a lot more action than the first as well and was really exciting to read. You’re going to hear a lot more about it on Friday and I hope you can join me for that post to find out just why this was a five star read!

 

The Last Book I… DNF’d

I have only officially DNF’d one book so far this year, and that is One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest by Ken Kesey.

I really liked the sound of the plot and it became clear early on that our narrator isn’t necessarily the most reliable. As a general rule this is a concept that I quite like, but in this book it just didn’t quite work. I found myself bored of this one, and trying to slog through a book you’re not enjoying is just not fun at all. I decided to DNF this book at 40%, so I gave it a solid try, but I don’t regret putting this down.

 

The Last Book I… Listened To

I have been a bit hit and miss with audiobooks lately. I’ve started a few, but not seen them through to the end. However, the last audiobook I finished was Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell.

I am very hit and miss with audiobooks. I will go through phases where I will devour them, and then I’ll hardly listen to them at all. Whilst I am trying now and then to keep up progress with them, I’m definitely in the phase of not really listening to them right now. It really depends on my circumstances and what I’m doing as to whether listening to books suits me. I’m sure audiobooks will make a resurgence for me again at some point. We’ll see when that is. Much like deciding to DNF books, I don’t see much point in trying to force the issue if it’s not working for me at the time.

 

So, there are my answers for ‘The Last Book I…’ Book Tag! I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and the books I have featured as part of it. Have you read any of them?

Don’t forget if you want to take part in this tag yourself, tag me in so I can read your answers as well!

 

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