Milestone: 100 Followers 

It’s astounding to me that it was only six weeks ago I posted to celebrate reaching 50 followers in four months. Last night, I reached the 100 milestone!
Since April I have learned a lot about blogging and I hope to pick up a lot more from all you wonderful people.
As a little celebration, I am going to be posting an extra review on Saturday, of Dunstan by Conn Iggulden. This is OF COURSE totally unrelated to be fact that I need to catch up so as not to get behind… 😂😂
Seriously though, a last little thing from me…

Thank you to all my followers and to all the blogs out there that give me inspiration 😊 Here is to the next milestone!
Yours and eternally grateful,

Review: The Maze Runner – James Dashner

Aloha fellow book fiends!! I have for you today my review of The Maze Runner, written by James Dashner!
As I mentioned in my post on Sunday, when I regularly give you all a little preview of the week ahead, this book is one of the exceptions to the general rule I have adopted. I watched the film first! Shock horror – I hear you cry! I know a lot of other book fans prefer to read first. Do let me know if you are of a different opinion mind, I’m keen to know!!
Personally, watching the film sold the book to me – If I hadn’t watched it I may not have picked the book up. I find though, given that I am highly biased towards reading and then watching… I was worried the book wouldn’t live up to the film. I was pleasantly surprised though, I still preferred the book but equally didn’t feel disappointed by the film for not being of equal expectation. Maybe there is some merit to doing things the wrong way around after all!!
The Maze Runner
GoodReads – The Maze Runner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.

What is it about?
We pick up the story from the perspective of Thomas, who finds himself in a new and harsh environment surrounded by other young adult boys. When Thomas enters the Glade he knows only two things for sure – his name, and that he must become a Runner…the Elite – the best of the best. Having lost all other memory, he quickly has to adapt to his new life in the Glade, however, he finds himself unwelcome by some and when things start to go wrong, suspicion and blame follow him everywhere.
Then, the most unusual thing happens. The first female enters the Glade. Things go from bad to worse, and in order to survive the Gladers have to face the Grievers and escape the maze.
My thoughts
I was actually impressed with the diversity of the characters within the book; in particular I liked how there are different levels of maturity among the youths. For example, everybody is made to work, growing crops, tending animals and a few other unsavoury jobs just to name a few. Also, there is a democracy of leaders representing all the Gladers when it comes to big decisions that have to be made.
Equally, there are the inevitable bolshy characters, aggression, and bullying that can be expected from the young men. Sorry guys – this isn’t a pointed remark at you or anything like that… it’s just that in this case, 99% of the Glade population is male. In my humble opinion, girls can be just as bad worse. WORSE. The youths have also developed some of their own language, which is very reminiscent of people (sadly a lot of them are my age) today. Having read an article including 28 slang words used on the internet today (link), I only knew three of the more obscure ones. The first, and probably the one I fucking hate the most, is “fam”. The other two are “AF” and “salty”. I think that probably tells you a hell of a lot about me.
Emma Stone sarcasm
Now that I’m done being a savage and throwing shade (too much? – okay I’ll stop) at some of the language choices of people my age today, I’ll get back to my review…
I’m not going to lie, there were times when I really wanted Thomas to get a grip. Yeah, I get it, self-doubt and finding oneself is a big part of being a teenager. Having come out of the other side of my teenage years with a “don’t like me, well screw you” attitude, I found Thomas’ doubting and uncertainty frustrating. I would like to think in the situation I would just make the best of a bad situation and get on with it, but who knows until you end up in it.  Everyone is different. I am not saying he is unjustified in his thoughts and fears, I just don’t like it personally.
One of my pet peeves is that the book and the film get to the ending differently. As ever, books and their TV adaptations, they are just that, aren’t ever going to be identical, (unless you watch The Green Mile – that’s the closest I have ever seen). It’s also just as emosh…tional.
Dystopian novels are a big win for me… in fact it is one of my favourite themes to read. Whilst I found myself a bit frustrated with Thomas, the rest of the book made it a good read. I knew the ending from watching the film, but that didn’t particularly detract from the book. It is a trilogy after all, and there are still many unanswered questions as to why the Maze was ever created. I’ll have to read the next book to find out.
Have you read the Maze Runner? If so, what were your thoughts?
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Sunday Summary: 1 October 2017

Good morning, from a very dreary, windy and rainy Sunday here!!
Another week comes and goes, and this one ends with the realisation that my holiday is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow…
I would much rather talk of the week of freedom I have had as opposed to the week ahead, so I’ll get straight on with it!
 

Books Read


On account of having the week pretty much to myself and only odd jobs to do around the house, I managed to get a fair bit of reading done! I started reading Dunstan last Sunday and at the point of writing my last Sunday summary, I was about 25% of the way through it. Well, I managed to finish this book on Wednesday this week and following on from finishing it, I picked up Making History by Stephen Fry. It was the first time I had ever read one of his books and I didn’t know what to expect. I actually picked this up as it was recommended to me by a work colleague and I wasn’t disappointed! I finished this book on Friday!
 

Books Discovered


I haven’t spent a single penny on books this week… *faints* I must be all shopped out from last week!! That being said, I have added books to the TBR, being Invictus by Ryan Graudin, Before It’s Too Late by Sara Driscoll, The Weight of Shadows by Karl Holton and That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E. K. Johnston.
I also noticed this week that a few of my blogging peers (yes you guys!) have been reviewing the latest novel by Allison Pearson, How Hard Can It Be? which was published last month. It got me thinking back to my school days and I remember starting to read the first book of this now series, I Don’t Know How She Does It. Regrettably I never finished the book, but I loved what I had read… so I’ve decided I am going to pick it up again. It also got me thinking about another quite different series I started reading back at school, being The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I’m as far as the fifth book of the series, being Soul of the Fire.
I have been paying a lot of attention to some of the books going around the blogosphere lately and I have added one final book that has a lot of discussion lately… A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab!
A Darker Shade of Magic
 

Coming Up…

Tuesday is review day – as always, and this week I am reviewing The Maze Runner by James Dashner. This is one of the exceptions to the rule in that I actually watched the film of this first. I still preferred the book though. More about that on Tuesday!!
On Friday I am taking part in a book tag. Technically I wasn’t tagged, it was kind of an open for all, but I decided to give it a go as it will let you all get to know me better. Hopefully…
Lastly, as ever, I will follow up the week with another post just like this one!!
If you have any thoughts I would love to hear from you! Have you read any of the books mentioned?
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Reading List – October 2017

October is nearly upon us!! Where has this year gone? I think back to when I started this blog back at the end of April and it seems like it was yesterday. Well, not quite, but you get the picture…
I normally publish my reading list on the first of every month, however as I don’t want this post to interfere with my Sunday summary post, I have decided to publish this list a couple of days early!
I’m not making my life very easy next month because I am setting myself a mammoth challenge. I have two ARC’s to read plus an additional three books. I know this is less than my September reading list, but take a look at which books I am reading and perhaps you’ll understand…
 

1  The Kitsune in the Lantern – Daniel Curry

The Kitsune in the Lantern
GoodReads – The Kitsune in the Lantern

“You were chosen by Yako, the bringer of Darkness.”
Join Argus Todd and his friends as he uncovers a great power exploring an old ruin, that has stood for decades in his town.
Inari, an age-old Kitsune must train Argus in his new gifts, in order to stop the chaotic Yako from bringing the darkness to our world.
But Yako appears a complex character, and all may not be as it seems…
Debut novella from author Daniel Curry, for Children and Teens. Experience the magic of the power of the Kitsune in this first book of a brand new series.

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

2  The War Queen – J M Robison

The War Queen
GoodReads – The War Queen

Altarn is the first woman to hold the position of State Head in Blindvar. When Lord Kaelin, State Head of Ruidenthall, propositions her to merger with their states, Altarn believes it’s his subtle way of taking her state for his own, making himself king. On the cusp of war, she rides in disguise to her last ally, Luthsinia, to ask for help.
During her journey, Altarn is ambushed but rescued by a man called Torren who offers her protection. Quickly they realize they share a mutual attraction. Upon their arrival to Luthsinia, Altarn receives news that an army has invaded Blindvar in her absence and blames Kaelin. Except it’s not Kaelin’s army, because she discovers Kaelin is in Luthsinia for the purpose of spying on her to take her land. And Torren is not who she thought he was.
Taking advantage of the unraveling situation, Kaelin kidnaps Altarn so he can take her state without her in the way and brings her to Ruidenthall. There’s a war ship on the horizon, led by a fallen angel craving mortal worship. Kaelin realizes he needs Altarn’s help to fight this army if he’s to save his state. She’s forced to agree, but how will she react when he’s wounded in battle? If she lets him die, can she fight the enemy on her own? Or if she saves his life, will he still try claiming her state, or try claiming her heart?

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

3  IT – Stephen King

IT
GoodReads – IT

It was the children who saw – and feel – what made the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one’s deepest dread.
Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as it sirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

So… now you guys might have realised what I meant by my mammoth challenge this month. For anyone who is unaware, this book is HUGE. In fact it is 1,376 pages long, and once completed, it will trump War & Peace at being the longest book I have read a) this year, b) all-time.
No pressure…
 

4  The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings
GoodReads – The Way of Kings

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

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

Roshar is a world of stone swept by tempests that shape ecology and civilization. Animals and plants retract; cities are built in shelter. In centuries since ten orders of Knights fell, their Shardblade swords and Shardplate armor still transform men into near-invincible warriors. Wars are fought for them, and won by them.
In one such war on the ruined Shattered Plains, slave Kaladin struggles to save his men and fathom leaders who deem them expendable, in senseless wars where ten armies fight separately against one foe.
Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Fascinated by the ancient text namedThe Way of Kings and troubled by visions of ancient times, he doubts his sanity.
Across the ocean, Shallan trains under eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece Jasnah. Though Shallan genuinely loves learning, she plans a daring theft. Her research hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

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

5  The Black Prism – Brent Weeks

The Black Prism
GoodReads – The Black Prism

THE BLACK PRISM begins an action-packed tale of magic and adventure . . .
Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.
When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.

If I’m completely honest, I will be delighted if I get to start this book by the end of October, never mind finish it. It’s not that it can’t be done… but it will be a big push. I added it onto the list to try to motivate myself to push through any difficult periods, but as to whether it will work or not remains yet to be seen.
Brent Weeks is another author I haven’t read for a long time. Back when I read the Night Angel series, The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows, I fell in love with his writing so I’m looking forward to picking this book up. It’s been on the TBR FOREVER!!!
What books are you reading at the moment?
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Top 5 Inspirational Quotes by Terry Pratchett

So… WordPress very kindly informed me that my last post published this morning, Down the TBR Hole #5 was my fiftieth blog post! Hasn’t that gone pretty fast?!
I decided, in order to celebrate the occasion, I wanted to share with you my top 5 quotes by one of my favourite authors. To be honest, it isn’t just his ability to put pen to paper and write hilariously witty novels, all the while administering a good kick in the teeth to social issues like racism, sexism and corruption that I love. It was his attitude to life I admire.
Some of you may not know about Terry’s background.
At primary school he was told he would never amount to anything and as a teenager he left school with no qualifications. It must have been difficult to make your way through life with nothing to testify your ability. You certainly couldn’t do it now.
Whilst he had taken an interest in writing from a young age, he worked in a library before he started up in journalism. It was through his journalism role that he handed over his manuscript of The Carpet People to Peter Bander van Duren, which became his first published novel.
The point I am making is this. Terry was a grafter. He was by no means defined as (though I dispute) intellectually exceptional and he had far less of an education than the vast majority of people, but did he let that stop him? No. His determination is what inspires me. Just because he didn’t have an education, it doesn’t mean he didn’t know his shit. Here are just a select few of the things he had to say about life:-
Terry Pratchett insanityTerry Pratchett knowledge and ignoranceTerry Pratchett Light & DarkTerry Pratchett Open Mind QuoteTerry Pratchett Wisdom quote
These are just a select few of my favourite quotes – and there are plenty of them. Punch it into Google (other search engines are available) if you don’t believe me.
If we can all adopt a little of Pratchett’s attitude, I think the world will go a long way. Wouldn’t you agree?
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Down the TBR Hole #5

This meme was started by Lia @ Lost in a Story and I am clearing out my reading list of unwanted books. I have old items on Goodreads that I need to sort through and gradually amalgamate into my current reading list. Here is how it works:

  • 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?

Here are the five books that I have focused on for this post:
 

Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart
GoodReads – Steelheart

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.
Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

Who doesn’t love Brandon Sanderson?! I have had a number of his books come up when going through my old entries on the TBR and it reminds me of just how long ago it was since I read one of his books!! …. but… not for much longer – I’ll let you in to a cheeky spoiler. One of his books is coming up on the reading pile for next month! Exciting times! If you want to check out the books I am going to be reading, stay tuned, because that post is going live on Friday, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
I digress. As I was saying, who doesn’t love Brandon Sanderson?! I think pretty much all his books I have come across sound interesting so if he comes onto the list, it’s probably a 99% chance of being kept… and this one is no exception. I seem to recall a previous post in which I ditched a book with a not-to-dissimilar plot line. Oops.
Verdict: Keep!
 

Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson

Warbreaker
GoodReads – Warbreaker

Warbreaker is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them has to marry, the lesser god who doesn’t like his job, and the immortal who’s still trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago.
Their world is one in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city and where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath that can only be collected one unit at a time from individual people.
By using breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris; Susebron the God King; Lightsong, reluctant god of bravery, and mysterious Vasher, the Warbreaker.

So again, we have another Brandon Sanderson novel. Now I know I said above that his books are probably a 99% chance of being kept… but having read the synopsis for this again, I think I am going to exercise the 1% here and take this off the TBR.
I don’t doubt that I could read this. Maybe one day I will. To be truthful, I’m just not feeling so inclined at the moment. It evidently doesn’t appeal to me as much as it once did. That’s okay – reading tastes change.
Verdict: Go
 

Sailing to Sarantium – Guy Gavriel Kay

Sailing to Sarantium
GoodReads – Sailing to Sarantium

Crispin is a master mosaicist, creating beautiful art with colored stones and glass. Summoned to Sarantium by imperial request, he bears a Queen’s secret mission, and a talisman from an alchemist. Once in the fabled city, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, intrigues and violence, Crispin must find his own source of power in order to survive-and unexpectedly discovers it high on the scaffolding of his own greatest creation.

Has anyone, at the point of reviewing their TBR ever come across a book they’ve added and thought… was I bored that day?
I genuinely don’t know why I would have added this to the list. No offence meant, but this really doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t honestly think it ever would have?
I don’t know. Either way, the verdict is clear. Sorry.
Verdict: Go
 

The Demon King – Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King
GoodReads – The Demon King

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.
One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…
The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

Okay, I think I have redeemed myself a little bit here. I added this to the TBR on the same day as Sailing to Sarantium and I was seriously doubting as to whether this was going to be of interest. Having reviewed the synopsis though, it does seem to be a book right up my street. Who doesn’t love a whole lotta magic and a woman/princess wanting to be kick-ass warrior? I’m sure there are plenty… but the point is – I am not one of them. Bring it on!!
Verdict: Keep
 

Theft of Swords – Michael J Sullivan

Theft of Swords
GoodReads – Theft of Swords

THEY KILLED THE KING. THEY PINNED IT ON TWO MEN. THEY CHOSE POORLY.
There’s no ancient evil to defeat or orphan destined for greatness, just unlikely heroes and classic adventure. Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, are two enterprising rogues who end up running for their lives when they’re framed for the murder of the king. Trapped in a conspiracy that goes beyond the overthrow of a tiny kingdom, their only hope is unraveling an ancient mystery before it’s too late.

I had quite a hard time with this one. I like how this tries to avoid some of the common clichés in fantasy writing. Other than that, I can’t decide if I am going to like this one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that it doesn’t sound like I could read it. It does. It just doesn’t particularly smack me in the face and say “PUT EVERY OTHER BOOKS DOWN AND READ ME INSTEAD”… do you know what I mean?
I have a lot of books to read, and I’m inclined to say that if I am sat on the fence about a book, it should go. There are thousands of others I’ll enjoy that I could read instead.
Verdict: Go


 
So there we have it! Of the five reviewed, I am keeping two. Even if I only review a few books at a time, I’ll eventually whittle down the TBR so I only have books I really do want to read on it.
I hope you have enjoyed my post! Have you found any books you no longer want to read lately?
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Review: Bad City – Matt Mayr

When I came across this debut novel by Matt Mayr I was excited to give it a try. Some of you may have gathered that I really enjoy books of a dystopian theme, so picking up this book was a no-brainer for me.

Bad City
GoodReads – Bad City

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

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

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

 

The book follows Simon, a highly skilled thief, recruited by Eli Baxter to steal an object from his rival Fisher. The object in question will make his rule of South Town undeniable. Simon has an unusual childhood background in that his parents left the City to become independent. As a child, Simon hated this, but surrounded by the violence and corruption of the city following the Flood, it becomes his dream to escape and live in the cabin owned by his parents.

My initial thoughts when I read this book was that if  South Town was truly that awful, there should be more atrocities going on. It almost seemed to me that whilst there was a certain degree of violence and depravity going on in the background, the focus was only on those caused by the main characters of the book. Given that these cities and the population are ruled using fear of what lies beyond these “safe” havens, I think this could have been played up more… almost made to be a little bit casual in a way, so it seems like a regular occurrence. The casual attitude should not play it down – the reader will be shocked regardless because this behaviour is not what they are used to.

Simon as our main character is well developed. Not only does the narration of the current events tell us about Simon’s personality… we also get flashbacks to his life as a child, how he came to be a thief and his influences in growing up. I think his aims are common in that he wishes to escape but for the most part, he doesn’t have the means to live a self sustainable life. When he meets and falls in love with Eva, who has access to seeds for crops, they stand a real chance of getting away.

In my opinion, Eva is the most underdeveloped character of the book. Admittedly, she doesn’t feature too much or do anything really important in terms of moving the plot along, but I would like to know her a little better. What makes her unafraid to wander the streets alone when every other woman has a male chaperone? Would she have not had trouble at the market in being charged extra by an uncooperative seller before Simon comes along? I wish there was a bit more background to her.

I actually quite like Anton. Whilst he is a man hell bent on revenge, I can relate to him a lot. He strikes me as the type that takes a lot to make him angry, but once he snaps, that’s it. I can kind of relate to that as I am much the same way; I might bite someone’s head off, don’t murder people, I promise!!

Every character’s motives and ideas are justified by their history and current position. I imagine that it must be difficult to establish characters and make them believable when putting them in a situation unlike a more familiar setting we know today, but Mayr achieves this reasonably well.

Without giving anything away, I think the plot flowed very well and the transitions between present day and the “flashbacks” were not difficult to follow. As well as it flowed, it didn’t necessarily pan out the way I first expected, but it was all the better for it. If anybody else out there loves this genre of book, I absolutely recommend it to read. There’s death, there’s violence and there’s corruption, but let us not forget, in the darkest of times there is always hope of something better.
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Sunday Summary: 24 September 2017

Hi guys!! Hope you are having a lovely weekend!!
I don’t know about you, but this has been a pretty mental week for me. Some of you may know that I was away on a short break earlier on this week, so I actually didn’t pick up a book for two days! TWO!! I had to on the third, since I had a several hour boat trip home to kill some time on. The lack of internet may also have swayed my decision…
 

Books Read


On account of being away for those few days my reading game has been pretty weak. I started The Maze Runner by James Dashner last Saturday night; I finished this yesterday and I have read about 25% of Dunstan by Conn Iggulden. I told you it was bad.
I’ll console myself with my pile of shopping instead.
 

Books Discovered

I get to this stage every week and feel like I should be going to Confession in church. I lack two things to be able to do this though. Firstly, I’m not remotely religious. Secondly, I have absolutely no intention of promising to stop buying books.


So, I bought two. Two isn’t so bad, right? That’s what I tell myself. I bought The Sun God’s Heir, by Elliot Baker and Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. Whilst the former is a completely new discovery to me, I actually added Red Sister to my TBR back in April this year. The opportunity came up to buy this book at a discount, so I took it!
As well as purchasing books, I have added a number to the TBR this week. I set myself up on Twitter last week and it has proven to be very useful for connecting with other bloggers and writers too! So much so, over the next two months I have four ARC’s to read! Exciting times! I’ll tell you a little more about them when I publish my reading list for the month they are being read and reviewed in!

As well as the books I have purchased, I have added quite a few books to the pile that I am yet to buy, including Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear, Consider Phlebas by Iain Banks and 99 Red Balloons by Elisabeth Carpenter.
Finally, my last addition to the TBR is The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, as I completed reading The Maze Runner yesterday.
 

Coming Up…

So this next week I am blessed with some additional time off work and no other major commitments, so I’ll be able to fit lots of reading in!
On Tuesday, as usual, I will be publishing a review of one of my latest reads. This week, it is Bad City by Matt Mayr. This is his first novel so I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on any further releases from this new author!
As I have time on my hands I am also bringing you an extra little cheeky blog post this week!! On Thursday I am going to be reviewing my TBR pile again and having a sort out using the meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.
As the first of the month begins on Sunday, and I am too fond of my Sunday summaries for organising myself, I am instead publishing my October Reading List on Friday and my Sunday Summary will be published as usual.
I hope you all have a fantastic week ahead! What books are you reading?
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Special Post – My favourite books!

Hi everyone!!
At the time you are reading this I am probably running into as many shops as physically possible, dragging my mum in tow, before our shopping trip has to come to an inevitable end. *sigh* Admittedly, I’ll probably be just as knackered too!
In my absence I didn’t want to see you disappointed, so I have prepared a post featuring two of my favourite books/series – the first being my favourite book out of the selection I have read this year so far and secondly, my favourite series of all-time. Let’s get started!!
 

Favourite Book of the Year

When I decided this was the kind of post I was going to be writing I knew exactly which book I was going to be featuring in this section.
I love books that tackle major issues in society and challenge our views, be that past or present. Whilst today I would LIKE to think there is far less discrimination going on than in the 1930’s, truthfully that’s not the case. Instead of hatred being aimed at individuals based on race, today religious discrimination is huge. I don’t condone it at all. I can understand why people might come to the conclusion that all individuals of a minority group behave in the same way as a select few that do end up on the news, having committed awful acts or crimes, but if you do this, you are wrong.
We should not tar 99% of the population of the minority group with the same brush as the 1% of individuals who take the views of their religion to the extreme. That isn’t fair. If you stop to take a look you will find that that remaining 99% are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Seriously.
Let’s think of it another way and use another common misconception to bring this a little closer to home. British holiday makers are often accused of being drunken troublemakers. I have absolutely no doubt that in holiday resorts a large percentage of the drunk and disorderly individuals arrested are British. Yep. That’s not to say ALL British are drunks. I can count on one hand the number of times I have had a drink this year, and if I had to have a finger cut off for the number of hangovers I have had, I would still have all of them.
Now I’ve gotten that little rant over with, I can tell you which book it is that has really made me feel so passionately about this.
Green Mile
Yes folks, it’s The Green Mile by Stephen King. If anyone is interested in reading my review of this book, it can be found here.
 

Favourite Book(s) – All-time

So, having thought about this I truthfully cannot pin this down to one book, but rather a series. It’s probably a predictable answer as well, but it’s the truth!!
My favourite series of all time has to be the A Song of Ice and Fire series, better known as A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin!

Whilst I have other books that I have rated five stars over the years, this is the only series I have gone back to read again in it’s entirety (as much as possible anyway). I found it amazing that upon reading the first book again, it’s actually quite easy to understand. Thankfully, the plot building and diverging happens gradually so as not to throw you into the deep end of a pit of sharks… not immediately at least!
I don’t know what else I can add other than that series is amazing (and I’m obviously not the only one to think so!) and that I can’t wait for the next book.
No really, I can’t. Not only that, we are potentially having to wait until 2019 for the final season to air on TV?! I’m going to have to find another TV or book series as a crutch to keep me going until then!!
What is your favourite book or series? Do you agree with me, or do you have another?
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Review: American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Good morning fellow blog readers and writers!

Today I am giving you a spoiler-free review of American Gods by Neil Gaiman, in case anybody out there is still yet to jump on the bandwagon. I bought a copy of this book back in May with the book vouchers my sister gave (traded with) me and I have been looking forward to reading this book since!

Following the release of the television series there has been a lot of buzz on the blogosphere for both the series and the book… so I had to see what all the hype was about. I tried not to read too much in the way of spoilers or equally have my perception of the book altered by the opinions of others. Upon starting the book I was advised by a fellow blogger that it was a book that has to be read at least twice to fully grasp.

As much as I took this on board, I did my best to go into the book with an open mind. American Gods isn’t the first book I have read by Neil Gaiman. I perfectly understood and enjoyed Stardust, which I read earlier this year.

American Gods
GoodReads – American Gods

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Having reached “the other side” I can completely understand why I was advised not to just read this book once. It is a complex book and it discusses many important themes. Unlike some other books, I wouldn’t say that the discussion of these things is subtle; in fact the understanding of immigration of Gods from other continents and the waning power of the religion/belief in these Gods is a pivotal point of the story. That being said, I think the book can still be enjoyed whether you only think of these topics on a superficial level, or equally if you want to delve a little deeper into it.

I am going to be perfectly honest here and say that if I have one criticism of the book, is that I found the pace to be a bit slow for the first half. That being said, I also found I had to take frequent breaks to digest what was going on because the story in many places goes from being reasonably normal to rapidly stretching the imagination very quickly.  Were I to read it again I think I could appreciate the build up to the climax more; I was eager to see how events would unfold. Maybe I was a bit slow on the uptake, but I thought the plot finally began to unravel quite late on. The second half was much more readable. I think it took me about four days to get through the first half of the book and then two to complete the second. To me, the prose seemed to flow naturally (plus as well at this point we fully expect the whackiness).

Admittedly when I immediately finished reading the book, I wasn’t sure I was fully satisfied with it. On reflection though, I did enjoy the book and its many themes. It is (for me) a book that it is better to stand back and appreciate as a whole picture rather than individual scenes and characters. I didn’t bond with any of the characters purely because they all had traits I dislike. To my mind that only goes to show that not even Gods, as humans create them, are perfect… and that’s a good thing! I didn’t overly bond with our main character Shadow either but I’m not disappointed about that – a character who has had to persevere serving three years in prison, the death of his wife and then being thrown into the crazy world of Gods is going to be the kind of person who keeps an arms length relationship with people, purely just to cope.

I would highly recommend that anyone out there who hasn’t read this book to do so. I wouldn’t say it is an easy read, but it is an enjoyable one all the same. I will definitely be reading it again. Who knows, maybe I have missed something and will pick it up in a second read. I do think this is one of the books in life that has the power to keep on giving.
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