Top Ten Tuesday – Last Ten Books I Abandoned

Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This isn’t something I take part in every week so I always have a lot of fun putting these lists together when I do!

I quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. That said, however, this week I am taking part in the scheduled topic, as I have DNF’d (Did Not Finish) a few books lately. I don’t do this very often though, so I am going to have two lists – books I DNF’d and then books I removed from my TBR before even beginning them.

Let’s check out the lists and why I abandoned them, shall we? Each list is in date order, from my most recently abandoned book in each category.

 

Boom Time – Michelle Lowe

Goodreads – Boom Time

Bootleggers, coppers, and no good, dirty gangsters! During Prohibition, the parties were wild, the alcohol was flowing, and danger was never far away. Pierce Landcross has been brought to the fast-paced future of New York City, 1926. His abductor, the Trickster, claims he’s hiding Pierce for his own protection, but cutthroats and femme fatales lurk around every corner. Lost in a strange land, Pierce vows to keep his nose clean, but that doesn’t last long when he falls into the bootlegging racket. Pierce has to quickly adapt to a world full of diesel-fueled machines, airships, moving picture shows, and clashes with rival gangs. At the same time, he has to elude a hunter from his own time sent to kill him!

 

This is my most recent DNF, and it was purely a matter of timing as to why I had to put this down. I signed up to review this and my review was due this month, but with the house move and all I was unable to honour that! I believe I can submit a real review later with the particular site I downloaded it from, so I might finish it later and do that.

 

Good Omens – Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Goodreads – Good Omens

‘Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around again until you get it right.’

People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date is set for Judgement Day. But what if, for once, the predictions are right, and the apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

You could spend the time left drowning your sorrows, giving away all your possessions in preparation for the rapture, or laughing it off as (hopefully) just another hoax. Or you could just try to do something about it.

It’s a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon now finds themselves in. They’ve been living amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there’s the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist…

 

I was really disappointed to DNF this one, but I had to! I love Terry Pratchett’s humour, but the narrative felt comparatively dry to his usual books. You can tell this isn’t purely his writing style and that it’s a collab with another author. Unfortunately, my experiences with Neil Gaiman’s books are mediocre at best, and WTF at worst. I was hoping Good Omens would turn the tide on my experience with this writing, but it really hasn’t.

 

Gardens of the Moon – Steven Erikson

Goodreads – Gardens of the Moon

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations with the formidable Anomander Rake and his Tiste Andii, ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order–an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

 

I love epic fantasy books, but I just could not follow what was going on in this one. A lot of people rave about it, that it’s a classic etc, but I couldn’t get on with it. I would read a chapter and finally grasp who was who and what was happening… and then the book would cut to another completely different scene and character set. It was too choppy for me to get into. Sorry guys!

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

Goodreads – Eye of the World

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

 

My friend Rachael will dislike me for this, but my first experience of The Eye of the World wasn’t the best one. If you guys think The Lord of the Rings books are heavily descriptive then let me introduce you to this book! It was just a bit slow for me and even though I tried to stick with it, I had to give up. I might try again at some point when I am in a better mood for an (epic) epic.

 

The Seventh Scroll – Wilbur Smith

Goodreads – The Seventh Scroll

For 4,000 years, the lavish crypt of the Pharaoh Mamose has never been found…until the Seventh Scroll, a cryptic message written by he slave Taita, gives beautiful Egyptologist Royan Al Simma a tantalizing clue to its location.

But this is a treasure cache others would kill to possess. Only one step ahead of assassins, Royan runs for her life and into the arms of the only man she can trust, Sir Nicholas Quenton-Harper-a daring man who will stake his fortune and his life to join her hunt for the king’s tomb. Together, they will embark on a breathtaking journey to the most exotic locale on earth, where the greatest mystery of ancient Egypt, a chilling danger and an explosive passion are waiting.

Steeped in ancient mystery, drama and action, The Seventh Scroll is a masterpiece from a storyteller at the height of his powers.

 

I loved River God, and my friend who recommended these books to me loved this book best of all. You can imagine my disappointment when I just couldn’t get on with it at all. Unlike River God, The Seventh Scroll is set in modern-day. The story follows on from that first book, but I didn’t like the sudden switch of time setting. I tried to stick with it but ultimately had to DNF as I wasn’t enjoying it.

This next list is of books I have removed from my TBR. In fairness, a lot of these will have been removed as they were added many years ago and my reading tastes have changed quite a lot since then! So… here is the second list!

 

The Sheep Look Up – John Brunner

Goodreads – The Sheep Look Up

An enduring classic, this book offers a dramatic and prophetic look at the potential consequences of the escalating destruction of Earth. In this nightmare society, air pollution is so bad that gas masks are commonplace. Infant mortality is up, and everyone seems to suffer from some form of ailment.

 

When I originally covered this in my Down the TBR Hole series (a couple of years ago now) I marked this as a keeper as I was interested in the dystopian aspect of it. I confess that since then this silently slipped off the TBR. Sure, I like dystopian books, but whatever appeal it had to me when I added it has now been lost. It sounds a bit depressing, to be honest!

 

The Just City – Jo Walton

Goodreads – The Just City

“Here in the Just City you will become your best selves. You will learn and grow and strive to be excellent.”

Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future–all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past.

The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer’s daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge, ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome–and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her.

Meanwhile, Apollo–stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does–has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human.

Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives–the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself–to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only the brilliant Jo Walton could tell.

 

This is another book that discretely slipped off the list. The appeal for this one was in the combination of different time periods all coming together, but I’ve lost interest. It is as simple as that. There are so many books out there so why waste time trying to read one you aren’t fussed on?

 

India Black – Carol Carr

Goodreads – India Black

When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.

 

I added this because the plot sounded cool, but when looking at it again more recently, I’m not 100% sure I am going to get on with the narrative. Maybe I was prepared to chance the awkward cheesiness of the main character falling for ‘the handsome conspirator’ once, but I’m honestly just put off by that now.

 

Tess of the Road – Rachel Hartman

Goodreads – Tess of the Road

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed reading Seraphina and Shadow Scale years ago. I liked the concept of dragons being able to disguise themselves in this world, but I’m not sold on this related book. I’ve heard that it’s not so good as those other books, and I think I’ve probably outgrown the series anyway.

 

The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtenay

Goodreads – The Potato Factory

Ikey Solomon is very successful indeed, in the art of thieving. Ikey’s partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from 19th century London to Van Diemens Land. In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey’s wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.

 

I feel like I originally added this to the TBR based on a review or recommendation because the synopsis doesn’t really sell it to me. That was several years ago now and I’ve no idea what the appeal was to add this to the list, so it dropped off again!

 

There you have it – that’s my Top Ten Tuesday post for today! Have you abandoned any books recently? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 10th May 2020

Hey guys! Welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post! I hope you are all well? Apologies, this post is also going to be a little light on book content – as I was last week. In last week’s Sunday Summary post I told you guys that I was supposed to be moving house this week. There was always a degree of uncertainty over whether it would happen in the current circumstances, but it did! I moved out of my flat and into my new house on Thursday!

It was stressful; some parts of the move went really well but others not so much. My poor parents delivered a takeaway to me that evening and had to stand on my doorstep unable to do anything as I had a bit of a meltdown over it all. I’m good now though! I just let a load of stupid niggles and the stress of the day overwhelm me a bit. Having slept on it, I woke up on Friday with a better attitude towards it all and I’m in a good frame of mind to get what I can sorted.

Three days on and I’m nearly halfway unpacked! The kitchen was by far the biggest job and I finished scrubbing it to within an inch of its life and putting everything away today. I should be done in the next couple of days if I can keep this pace up! My back and legs ache and I have some bruises to show for my efforts… but it will all be worth it in the end!

Anyway, let’s get onto the bit you are actually here for – books! I managed to line-up a couple of blog posts for this week as I knew I was going to be busy. On Monday I shared my Reading List post for May and on Friday I scheduled a Shelf Control post for you guys.

 

Books Read

As you’ve probably gathered, books haven’t really been the focus of my attention this week. That said, I have picked up The Thief Taker by C. S. Quinn some evenings to wind down after busy days. I’m still reading The Women’s Room but needed something lighter to read than that. I was on strict orders to on Thursday night after my little… ahem… moment in front of mum and dad! I have also been catching up with Westworld before it drops off NowTV as well, so I haven’t made a whole lot of progress. I’ve read 33% of the book to date.

 

 

Books Discovered

Source: Giphy

 

Coming Up…

I’m not planning on much blogging or reading next week either. I may be halfway done unpacking, but once that is finished there is a decent list of DIY jobs that need doing around here. I’m not going to start anything too major just yet, but I might as well start with some of the smaller jobs whilst I’m off work and free to do them.

I am hoping for a bit more free time now the most intensive jobs are done – I’ll certainly have the evenings to myself if nothing else! With that in mind, I’d like to try and schedule two blog posts this week.

On Tuesday I am planning on sharing a Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s topic is the Last Ten Books I Abandoned, which I actually quite like. I have abandoned a few lately, so it’s a good chance to talk about those properly! Then on Friday, I’ll be selecting another book and sharing the opening lines with you in my First Lines Friday post!

That’s a wrap for us in today’s Sunday Summary post guys! Thanks for being patient with me whilst I’m taking a brief step back from reading. In my absence, what are you reading?

 

 

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Shelf Control #19 – 08/05/2020

Today’s Friday feature post is all about Shelf Control (again) – or in my case, my absolute lack of it! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control gives me the chance to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR. I get to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep to my Down the TBR Hole posts for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

In today’s post, I am featuring a classic novel that I want to try and read. I’m not 100% sure what I’ll make of it, but I’m interested enough to give it a go!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers

 

Alexandre Dumas’s most famous tale— and possibly the most famous historical novel of all time— in a handsome hardcover volume.

This swashbuckling epic of chivalry, honor, and derring-do, set in France during the 1620s, is richly populated with romantic heroes, unattainable heroines, kings, queens, cavaliers, and criminals in a whirl of adventure, espionage, conspiracy, murder, vengeance, love, scandal, and suspense. Dumas transforms minor historical figures into larger- than-life characters: the Comte d’Artagnan, an impetuous young man in pursuit of glory; the beguilingly evil seductress “Milady”; the powerful and devious Cardinal Richelieu; the weak King Louis XIII and his unhappy queen—and, of course, the three musketeers themselves, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, whose motto “all for one, one for all” has come to epitomize devoted friendship. With a plot that delivers stolen diamonds, masked balls, purloined letters, and, of course, great bouts of swordplay, The Three Musketeers is eternally entertaining.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

This classical novel made it to my TBR as it also blends with one of my favourite genres, historical fiction. I also decided I wanted to read it after watching and enjoying the series on Netflix.

The slight concern I have is how romanticised the characters are in the novel. Don’t get me wrong, they were in the series too and I didn’t mind it too much. It wasn’t lewd or anything like that. I’m hopeful that it strikes up a similar tone, as I will be able to get on with it quite well.

The synopsis suggests that the novel balances action with storyline well on the whole, which I am looking forward to seeing if that is the case. It definitely isn’t a time period that I have read previously, so it will be a new experience for me!

Depending on how well I get on with this first book, I may go on to read the rest of the series. I didn’t even know this was the first book in a series until today!

Have you read The Three Musketeers? What do you think? Or, have you watched the Netflix shows as I have? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Thank you!***

Reading List – May 2020

Hey everyone! It’s a bright, sunny May day and today we are going to talk about my reading list for May… of the lack of one.

It’s rare that I don’t set a TBR. I think in the history of my blog (since I started doing it seriously in the second half of 2017), I have deliberately not set a TBR once. On that occasion, it was to give me a chance to mood read for a change and a bit more freedom in my reading choice. This month though, I can’t commit to reading all that much.

If you’re my friend, a family member or a regular reader of my blog, you will know that there’s a pretty big change coming up in my life. Provided all goes to plan and there are no last-minute hiccups, I’m going to be moving later this week. Of course, it’s all up-in-the-air thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Not only that but because of it it’s very likely I am going to be dealing with most of it on my own. My mum and dad will be helping where they can by dropping food off to me, but if the rules don’t relax then they can’t help me get sorted anywhere near as much as they want to!

Naturally, I have been planning for this and juggling my blogging/reading for weeks. I’ve been doing bits here and there so it’s been manageable, but now I’ve had to step it up and my reading has almost stopped completely. I’m now behind schedule for my Goodreads challenge, but I’m not worrying about it too much. I have plenty of time to make it up. In the grand scheme of things, even if I don’t read much over the next couple of weeks I’m still in a good position to catch up at a better time. I won’t get that far behind. It’s not worth putting any pressure on myself over it!

I’ve been living in boxes waiting for this to happen for months, so once I’m the other side I am getting sorted as soon as possible! I’m planning for the whole thing to take me about a week, which is going to take us until mid-month before I’m anywhere near being in a position to read a little more and enjoy some downtime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping to be able to pick up a book to wind down in the evenings. I just don’t know how much reading I’ll get in. I’m not the most physically fit person in the world (largest understatement of the year!) so let’s be honest – I’m going to be knackered! I might just want to sleep instead.

I’m posting this to say that you shouldn’t be surprised if things are a little quiet from me in the immediate future. I’m going to read what I can, share blog posts when and where I have the capacity to write or schedule them and keep you up to date with everything that’s going on.

Fingers crossed I can get a wriggle on and be back to my usual routine soon.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 3rd May 2020

Hey guys and welcome back to another Sunday Summary post! This week’s post is actually going to be a pretty short one, so let’s just jump right into it!

I only published one blog post this week (aside from this Sunday Summary post), and that was a review of Magical Intelligence by M K Wiseman. This was a blog tour post that I signed up for a little while back. I was one of the first bloggers to take part in the tour as it started on the 30th April. If you have read my post and want to check out more, the tour runs until the 6th May and there are plenty of other bloggers taking part!

 

Books Read

 

The best way to describe my reading progress this week is negligible. I have picked up both The Women’s Room and Boom Time this week, but probably for no more than 30 minutes each. I’ve been really distracted lately and my reading motivation was already suffering thanks to current circumstances. What free time I have had, I’ve spent doing some other more engaging hobbies. I’m particularly enjoying making all kinds of crochet squares that will come together to make a throw once they’re finished. Learning new patterns has been fun! Aside from that, I’ve bee getting out where I can for walks to get outside. Isn’t funny how you enjoy it so much more when you are restricted?

Not only that, but I have been spending a lot of time this week (and weekend) packing and cleaning the place up. It was my last weekend here to tackle the big jobs in getting ready to move. Needless to say, reading has almost gone out of the window at the moment. I’m in a pretty good headspace now so once this post goes live I’m going to sit and read for a bit. I can’t really say how much I am going to get done in the next week or so.

 

Books Discovered

 

There are no new additions here again this week – I think we’ve already clarified that I’ve been a little busy with other things!

 

Coming Up…

I already had in the back of my head that next week is going to be mental for me. With that in mind, I have already drafted a post for tomorrow. Typically I share a reading list post at the beginning of the month, but this one is a little different.

I’m also going to draft and schedule a Shelf Control post for Friday. They are a regular feature here and really easy to write, so I can prepare this in good time and get on with everything else I need to.

I’m also planning on catching up with you all next week in another Sunday Summary post. I’m really sorry I can’t promise much, but hopefully I can have a bit of a bookish update for you.

That’s all from me today! I hope you have made better reading progress than I have. What are you reading right now?

 

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Blog Tour Book Review: Magical Intelligence – M. K. Wiseman

I’m really excited to be taking part in the blog tour for Magical Intelligence by M K Wiseman. Today kickstarts the blog tour for Magical Intelligence, which will be running up until its publication next week! As a huge fan of fantasy, magic and the concept of wizard spies, I have been looking forward to reading this book and sharing my thoughts with you about it.

Before I start these posts I always like to take the time to thank both Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

Would you like to find out a little about Magical Intelligence before we jump into my thoughts of the book?

 

Magical Intelligence – M K Wiseman

Goodreads – Magical Intelligence

When you are a member of Britain’s first team of wizard spies, every mission might be your last. But as the dawning of the 20th century draws ever nearer, magic grows weak. Violectric Dampening, the clash of man-made electricity with the Gifts of magekind, threatens M.I.’s existence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve now been discharged from their own government. Obsolete. Distrusted.

And now hunted by one of their own.

Myra Wetherby has always feared her so-called fits, strange visions of people and places that she cannot explain. It is the emotional manipulation, however, a strange empathic connection to those around her, which threatens her very sanity. A danger to her family, Myra runs away, falling straight into the hands of the newly ousted Magical Intelligence team. Who just so happen to need an ability like hers.

Which makes Myra one of them . . . whether she likes it or not.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-LocPwqQiU

 

My Thoughts…

The first thing that caught my attention about the book was the plotline. I love how it revolves around magic and how scientific discovery (electricity) has a negative impact on wizardry. Those of you that read my other reviews may remember that one of my favourite things about fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson is that his magic systems have a physical element or limitation to them. I love when magic interacts with the world we know and love. It lends a sense of realism to what is going on; it has rules and that way it can’t be used to make a plothole problem disappear randomly. For this reason, I really enjoyed the concept behind this story.

Myra is an Empath. She has the ability to experience other’s emotions as well as manipulate them. I really liked this power in our protagonist. I would say I am quite an empathetic person so even though she is a teenage girl, we have common ground and that makes her relatable. As I am sure all women can tell you, handling emotions as a teenage girl is no walk in the park. It’s a confusing, ever-changing mess – just like Myra’s emotions for a good portion of the book. But again, this all adds to her being an overall relatable character.

The age and circumstance are perfect for allowing Myra to mature and really show off her development as a person and with her powers. Having grown up being misunderstood, Myra finds a sense of belonging amongst a ‘family’ she never knew existed. I’m looking forward to seeing how she grows throughout the rest of the series, as well as find out more about her past. There are a few little hints, but a lot of mystery as to how she ended up on her own. Hopefully, all will be revealed!

The Violectric Dampening also serves to build and differentiate a number of characters within M.I. Some of the wizards within the group are more prone to it than others. As Myra quite literally lands herself in the action from one of her visions, she is chucked in the deep end. We are introduced to a number of different wizards and magical abilities that, up until now, have served them in serving the Crown. Now working in an unofficial capacity to protect their magic from one threatening it, they train Myra to control her abilities as well as teach her about their own to aid them in their difficult mission.

Magical Intelligence is a fun read for fans of fantasy, magic and action-packed adventure! I really enjoyed the unique storyline, the setting and how well this whole package comes together. Thanks again to the author for the opportunity to read and review the book!

 

Author Bio

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in animation/video and library science – both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, her office is a clutter of storyboards and half-catalogued collections of too, too many books. (But, really, is there such a thing as too many books?) When she’s not mucking about with stories, she’s off playing brač or lying in a hammock in the backyard of her Cedarburg home that she shares with her endlessly patient husband.

 

Social Media Links –

Website: http://mkwisemanauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FaublesFables/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/FaublesFables

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/faublesfables/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7073540.M_K_Wiseman

Sunday Summary – 26th April 2020

Hey everyone! You know what time it is – time for another Sunday Summary post! Another week has absolutely flown by!

I decided this time last week that I wanted to draft up two reviews this week. With that in mind, I started the week with an audiobook review for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I have recently listened to the sequel, Crooked Kingdom, so I figured now was the right time to get my thoughts together on the first book. My second review of the week was for Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I adored this book when I read it in October last year – so much so, I binge-read the rest of the trilogy before the end of the year! I cannot recommend the books enough, I honestly can’t!

On Friday I shared another First Lines Friday post. This week I decided to change things up and featured a book that is still on my TBR at the moment. I really like the sound of this historical fiction novel and have read other similar ones by other authors. I’m sure it’ll be just as good as the others I have read.

 

Books Read

This week has been a bit of a weird one. I left off last week’s Sunday Summary post haveing just started Boom Time by Michelle Lowe. I continued with this one for a little while, but I wasn’t really feeling it. It’s not that I’m not enjoying it, I just think I need a break from the genre. I’ve read a few fantasy novels back-to-back lately and so a change was welcome!

With that in mind, I decided to pick up The Women’s Room by Marilyn French. It was definitely the right decision to switch as I am getting on quite well with that. I’m currently 26% through this one, which is about 130 pages.

Some of you may be thinking that this is nowhere near the reading pace I set myself, and you’re right. My stall in reading has partly been down to choice, and in other ways by necessity. I tend to read a lot during the evenings, but this week I decided to set that aside most of my reading time on Monday-Thursday evening in favour of watching the Rocky films on ITV4. I like them, but I don’t think I have ever watched them in full. I really wanted to and figured its okay to take a little break from the regular routine here and there. Now I have watched them, except number 5. I have it on good authority (my mum) that one isn’t as good as the rest and so I didn’t watch this one. I read on Friday night.

I also haven’t had a lot of time to read this weekend. My postponed house move is back on and due to take place shortly, so I’ve spent the weekend packing up and getting ready for it!

 

Books Discovered

I think it’s safe to say I’ve been a little too busy to be book browsing this week! Nothing to add here!

 

Coming Up…

I’m scaling back my posts this week so that I have some time on my hands to carry on packing, but also to try draft up some posts to keep my blog ticking over during my house move. It’s not going to happen overnight and it’ll take me a good while to get sorted on the other side, so I might still end up taking a brief break from blogging. I’m talking a week, two tops.

We’re not there yet though, so let’s talk about what I am sharing next week! I won’t be sharing a post for a few days at the beginning of next week, so my first post will be going live on Thursday. I am taking part in a blog tour for Magical Intelligence by M. K. Wiseman. You may recall I read this earlier on in the month. I’m glad I did now! I’d hate to be trying to rush reading it now.

Then, as usual, I’ll be rounding up the week with another Sunday Summary post. I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get done next week… but I’ll do my best!

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update. What are you reading?

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/04/2020

Welcome back to another First Lines Friday post! In today’s post I am changing things up a bit. I have been featuring some older reads in the last few First Lines Friday posts, however this week I am featuring something on my TBR, or To Be Read pile, instead.

I’ve selected this book completely at random. I basically did a quick scroll through the list without looking and picked the one I stopped on. Sometimes it’s nice to do things a little random.So, without further adieu, here is this week’s book. Can you guess the book from the introduction?

The Nazi officers are dressed in black. They look at death with the indifference of a gravedigger. In Auschwitz, human life has so little value that no one is shot anymore; a bullet is more valuable than a human being. In Auschwitz there are communal chambers where they administer Zyklon gas. It’s cost-effective, killing hundreds of people with just one tank. Death has become an industry that is profitable only if it’s done wholesale.

The officers have no idea that in the family camp in Auschwitz, on top of the dark mud into which everything sinks, Alfred Hirsch has established a school. They don’t know it, and it’s essential that they should not know it. Some inmates didn’t believe it was possible. They though Hirsch was crazy or naive,: How could you teach children in this brutal extermination camp where everything is forbidden? But Hirsch would smile. He was always smiling enigmatically, as if he knew something that no one else did. ‘It doesn’t matter how many schools the Nazis close, he would say to them. ‘Each time someone stops to tell a story and children listen, a school has been established.’

Shall we find out what it is?

The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe

Goodreads – The Librarian of Auschwitz

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

Goodreads

Purchase links:  Amazon UK      Amazon US     Waterstones

I have read and listened to a number of books from this time period and setting already. The conditions people had to suffer were horrendous. It’s awful, but I honestly believe that education about it is the way to prevent history from repeating itself.

I’m really looking forward to reading this novel and take on life in concentration camps from a new author. The main character is all about preserving books, so she has won me over already!

Have you read The Librarian of Auschwitz?

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Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Hey guys and welcome back to another review post! I’ve already reviewed one book (audiobook) this week and I’m back again in an effort to catch up with the number of reviews I need to write! Today’s review is going to be a joy to write because I absolutely loved this book! In fact, I loved the whole series! I wouldn’t describe myself as a binge reader particularly, but I read this series really quickly by my standards. I read this on holiday in October last year and I read the remaining two books in November and December respectively. I can tell you now that it’s one I will be picking up time and again.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Goodreads

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK    Amazon US     Waterstones

My Thoughts…

If I haven’t already made it clear from the intro, let me say this one thing first. Ahem. I LOVED THIS BOOK! I was already a huge fan of Laini Taylor’s based on her Strange the Dreamer duology. She really has a way with words, beautiful descriptions and great characters/storylines. If you are a huge fantasy fan, please, please read at least one of her books. Whilst they are marketed at a young adult audience, I didn’t overly perceive them that way. I don’t typically read YA but I’m glad I did on this occasion!

In Daughter of Smoke and Bone Laini Taylor reinvents the classic angels vs demons conflict. Where typical stories have clear cut good and evil sides, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is riddled with moral ambiguity and grey areas on both sides. It makes the conflict element of the storyline really interesting. What makes it even better is that our main character Karou is largely ignorant of what is going on within this conflict for most of the book. To us readers, she begins as a mostly normal young woman studying art in Prague. However, as Karou accidently learns that there is more to her existence than she first realises, we readers are thrown into a whole new world where enemies appear as friends, and friends as enemies. Who is Karou really, and who can she trust?

I really enjoy how well Laini Taylor gives her female characters plenty of sass! If you want an example, I shared a great opening quote from one of the later books in a First Lines Friday post. It’s just one of many brilliantly funny moments that had me laughing out loud. I’m pretty sure I had a few quizzical looks whilst reading this, not least from my sister!

As someone that isn’t a huge advocate of romances in novels, I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of the Karou/Akiva relationship alluded to in the synopsis. I was pleasantly surprised though. It is quite a significant part of the narrative, but it isn’t awkward, forced or uncomfortable to read. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I just get awkward reading romances when they’re overly sexualised. It just makes me cringe. Karou and Akiva’s spark isn’t like that at all – it’s born of longing, a half-remembered past. A re-kindling. That’s all I can say without spoiling anything, but the one thing it is not is sexual. Works for me!

I’m glad I bought Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the rest of the series later, in paperback. I will definitely be revisiting this series again – that’s how much I loved it. Now that I know what happens, I also want to read it again to see what I missed the first time.  

Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone or any other books by Laini Taylor? Let me know in the comments!

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Thank you!***

Audiobook Review: Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Today I am sharing an audiobook review for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I listened to this audiobook last year and finished it in September. It’s been a little while since I finished this, however, I have listened to its sequel Crooked Kingdom more recently.

I really enjoyed listening to Six of Crows and today’s post is all about sharing what I loved about it! Before that though, here are the details of the book: –

 

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads – Six of Crows

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts

My favourite thing about this particular book, and series, is the depth and detail of the world that has been created. Whilst I have only listened to this duology from Leigh Bardugo, my understanding is that it ties in with another series she has written (The Shadow and Bone series). It really shows in the detail. Those that read my reviews regularly will know that I talk about the setting and history of a novel a lot. It’s a big factor on whether I enjoy fantasy stories such as these or not. It worked really well for me, and I think I will be reading or listening to her other series based on what I have enjoyed listening to already.

As I listened to the audiobook version of Six of Crows, I got the benefit of a variety of narrators to add to the overall diversity in characterisation. I really liked that the story was split into several perspectives, but not so many that it becomes difficult to understand who our perspective is narrated by and what is going on. Each perspective is distinct, unique and adds to the storyline.

The daring, impossible criminal heist element of the storyline really drew me in and I’m glad I picked up Six of Crows. This was the first book I have read by Leigh Bardugo and I’ll be reading more of her books based on this one. It’s nail-biting and exciting. I agree with some of the reviews offering criticism about how events play out – it does seem a little unrealistic given the circumstances. However, I didn’t really think about it at the time – it was still enjoyable all the same!

Have you read or listened to Six of Crows? What do you think of it?

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***