Down the TBR Hole #25

Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in today’s Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?

 

The Court of Broken Knives – Anna Smith Spark

The Court of Broken Knives

Goodreads – The Court of Broken Knives

They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we piss gold and jewels into the dust.

In the richest empire the world has ever known, the city of Sorlost has always stood, eternal and unconquered. But in a city of dreams governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has become the true ruler, and has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The empire is on the verge of invasion – and only one man can see it.

Haunted by dreams of the empire’s demise, Orhan Emmereth has decided to act. On his orders, a company of soldiers cross the desert to reach the city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Marching on Sorlost, Marith thinks he is running away from the past which haunts him. But in the Golden City, his destiny awaits him – beautiful, bloody, and more terrible than anyone could have foreseen.

 

I added this book to the TBR on the 24th June 2018, and I kid you not, nearly a year on to the day (23rd June 2019), I bought my copy through Amazon. Freaky! I think it was on offer at the time, and I had read a review that reminded me of it.

This is a definite keeper, that’s for sure!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Wars – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Wars

Goodreads – The Mage Wars

Set around three thousand years before the rest of the Valdemar series, this is the ancient history of Velgarth and the story of Skandranon Rashkae, a gryphon with gleaming ebony feathers, keen magesight and acute intelligence. He is the fulfillment of all that the Mage of Silence, the human sorcerer called Urtho, intended to achieve when he created these magical beings to be his champions, the defenders of his realm – a verdant plain long coveted by the evil mage Ma’ar.

Together with Amberdrake, a Healer of body, mind and spirit, Skandranon will defend his nation from his evil counterparts created by Ma’ar, the makaar. The glorious city of White Gryphon will rise from the ashes, but it will take careful negotiation, spying and terrible war against the mysterious Black Kings to secure the stronghold. Even then, the elite guard force, the Silver Gryphons, will discover a greater terror lurking in the forests beyond the city walls…

The Mage Wars omnibus follows Skandranon and his lifelong friend, Amberdrake, and their children, as they seek to establish and defend a Kingdom of peace and tranquillity.

 

These next few books are actually quite easy, as I own them all. They are sat on my bookshelf in the spare room begging to be picked up. I bought them all together, having read a little about them via Goodreads.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Storms – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Storms

Goodreads – The Mage Storms

Karse and Valdemar have long been enemy kingdoms, until they are forced into an uneasy alliance to defend their lands from the armies of Eastern Empire, which is ruled by a monarch whose magical tactics may be beyond any sorcery known to the Western kingdoms. Forced to combat this dire foe, the Companions of Valdemar may, at last, have to reveal secrets which they have kept hidden for centuries… even from their beloved Heralds.

 

As above. I really want to try these epic fantasy novels.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mage Winds – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Winds

Goodreads – The Mage Winds

Long ago, high magic was lost to Valdemar when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to protect his kingdom from destruction by dark sorceries. But now the protective barrier over Valdemar is crumbling, and with the realm imperilled, Princess Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, has gone on a desperate quest in search of a mentor who can teach her to wield her fledgling mage-powers and help her to defend her threatened kingdom.

Winds of fate
With the realm at risk, Elspeth, herald and heir to the throne, abandons her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities.

Winds of change
Princess Elspeth journeys to the Vale of the Tayledras Clan to seek Mage training among the powerful Hawkbrother Adepts, only to find that she and renegade adept Darkwind must confront the malevolent magic of Ancar of Hardorn.

Winds of fury
Herald-Princess Elspeth and her beloved partner, Darkwind the adept, return to Valdemar to confront the evil and powerful Ancar, who once again is threatening her homeland.

 

… Yeah, and again. As above. No point adding unnecessary wordage here.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Dragonbone Chair – Tad Williams

Goodreads – The Dragonbone Chair

A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.

Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.

After the landmark Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, the epic saga of Osten Ard continues with the brand-new novel, The Heart of What Was Lost. Then don’t miss the upcoming trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard, beginning with The Witchwood Crown!

 

There’s definitely a fantasy theme running here so far! I can’t help but think that there are a lot of clichés in this one, based on the synopsis. I don’t mind the odd one, but stories that use the same ones all the time get repetitive. It sounds very similar to something I have read before, so I think I am going to pass on this one.

Verdict: Go

 

Auschwitz – Laurence Rees

Goodreads – Auschwitz

Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known. In Auschwitz, Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail—from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.

Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe’s Jews—their “Final Solution.” He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a “practical” response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

 

As awful as it sounds, I have a bit of a morbid fascination with the events and atrocities of World War II and Nazi Germany. I love other books on the same subject, like The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Code Name Verity. Auschwitz, in contrast to the other books just named, is a non-fiction account. I’m trying to get myself to read more non-fiction (and failing right now)… but this is one to pick up at a later date.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

Goodreads – The Woman Who Would Be King

An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power in a man’s world.

Hatshepsut, the daughter of a general who took Egypt’s throne without status as a king’s son and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty, was born into a privileged position of the royal household. Married to her brother, she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her inconceivable rule as a cross-dressing king.

At just twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of king in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular twenty-two year reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays with the veil of piety and sexual expression. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut had to shrewdly operate the levers of a patriarchal system to emerge as Egypt’s second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut had successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her images were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.

 

It’s rare that one non-fiction book graces the TBR, but two in a row?! It’s unheard of. I’m keeping this book on the TBR too; I didn’t even know there were female pharaohs! I’d like to learn a little more about her, and Egyptian culture. It’s a break from my usual reading and allows me to expand my history knowledge.

Verdict: Keep

 

Henry VIII – Abigail Archer

Goodreads – Henry VIII

Henry VIII ruled England from 1509 to 1547. As a young man, he was fond of sports and hunting, and was said to be uncommonly handsome. Standing more than six feet tall, he loomed large in the lives and minds of his subjects as he navigated his country through the tricky diplomatic and military hazards of the sixteenth century. A man of enormous appetites, Henry conducted affairs with many women, married six, and executed two. His infatuation with Anne Boleyn set in motion a chain of events that reshaped the church in England and eroded the dominance of Rome. But the popular image of Henry as a crude tyrant, dispatching courtiers, enemies, and wives with gusto, obscures a more nuanced and fascinating character.

He was a true Renaissance king who presided over one of Europe’s greatest courts and nudged Western civilization onto a new course. Here, from Abigail Archer, author of The New York Times bestseller Elizabeth I, is the story of Henry VIII.

 

Three non-fiction books in a row? I must have been conscious of the fact that I don’t read many and trying to rectify that. They are all history as well, which is fair enough. I enjoy history – at least they are all different in time period. The Tudor period is up there with WW2 on my list of favourite subjects.

Verdict: Keep

 

Playing With Matches – Lee Strauss

Goodreads – Playing With Matches

Heinz Schultz’s word could send a man to prison. Though only a youth of fifteen, he was strong, tall, and blond. The boys in his Deutsches Jungvolk unit esteemed him and feared him.

And they wanted to be just like him.
Emil Radle wanted to be just like him.

A dedicated member of Hitler Youth, Emil was loyal to the Fuehrer before family, a champion for the cause and a fan of the famous Luftwaffe Airforce.

Emil’s friends Moritz and Johann discover a shortwave radio and everything changes. Now they listen to the forbidden BBC broadcast of news reports that tell both sides. Now they know the truth.

The boys along with Johann’s sister Katharina, band together to write out the reports and covertly distribute flyers through their city. It’s an act of high treason that could have them arrested–or worse.

As the war progresses, so does Emil’s affection for Katharina. He’d do anything to have a normal life and to stay in Passau by her side. But when Germany’s losses become immense, even their greatest resistance can’t prevent the boys from being sent to the Eastern Front.

 

How quickly we swing back to History and WW2… but at least we are back in historical fiction territory. I am on familiar ground again! I simultaneously added this to the TBR and bought the e-book from Amazon. That’s how convinced I was that this was a keeper. I think I saw this advertised on Bookbub when it was on offer. I stand by my decision to buy it there and then.

Verdict: Keep

 

Keep You Safe – Rona Halsall

Goodreads – Keep You Safe

What if trying to protect your child only put them in danger?

Natalie is desperate to find her little boy. It has been more than three years since she saw Harry. Three long years in prison for a crime she knows she didn’t commit.

But her husband believed the police, and took their son.

Who has gone to such great lengths to destroy Natalie’s life? Everyone she once trusted – friends, family, everyone close to her – what secrets do they hide?

If Natalie finds the truth, will she get Harry back, or lose him forever?

A totally gripping psychological thriller– perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, The Girl on the Train and C.L Taylor.

Previously titled GUILTY LITTLE SECRETS

 

Rona Halsall’s Keep You Safe is staying on the list for a couple of reasons. Not only does it sound like a fantastic thriller/mystery novel, but Rona is a local author! I feature a lot of books on my blog, but as yet, nothing from anyone living on our little Island. I’m excited to be able to read this and share my thoughts on it.

Verdict: Keep

Only one book struck off the list again. At this point, I don’t think I’ll be striking many more off the list. They are all reasonably recent additions.

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads