Sunday Summary – 28th June 2020

Hey guys! Another week is over and it’s time to update you with another Sunday Summary post. As always, I hope you have had a good week?

Before jumping into what I’ve been doing this week, you may have noticed my blog artwork has changed slightly. Yes, I dyed my hair blue last weekend! As you’ll see below, last Sunday night was a bit hectic so I didn’t have time to change my artwork then. However, I’ll be updating it going forward. If you haven’t seen the picture I shared over on my Instagram and Facebook accounts… here it is!

I started this week’s blogging schedule early with a blog tour review of Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson. This post was scheduled last Sunday after publishing my Sunday Summary post, so it was a busy night! I then had a few days off before drafting and publishing my regular Friday feature Shelf Control post. The book I featured this week is a classic novel by an American author. I read another of his books during school, and in classic fashion with me, I hated it at first but came to love it later.

 

Books Read

I left off last week with around half an hour’s reading time of Never Ever Tell left to go. Naturally, I finished this after last week’s post so I could write my review. It feels kind of cheaty including it, but technically it is progress I’ve made since last week so I’m including it here.

I also started a children’s fiction novel called Chimeborn by Daniel Curry. I read and reviewed another book of his called The Kitsune and the Lantern a good while ago now. Since I really enjoyed that, I was glad when Daniel approached me and asked if I was willing to review this new book. I’ve made a solid start to this book, but as I have been saying a lot lately, other things have taken priority. I have mentioned a few times that I am studying for work and a good deal of my free time has gone towards that. Also… I watched an epic thunderstorm on Thursday night. We don’t get them very often, so I have no regrets!

 

Books Discovered

The advantage of keeping busy is that I’m not discovering new books to add to the TBR. Despite the fact that I read a lot, the list doesn’t seem to be going down…

Admittedly, I have fallen off the wagon in terms of reading other blogs (my main source of discovering new books) lately. I am going to try and get back to it again. I need to make a habit of it really.

 

Coming Up…

So, as I’ve mentioned, I have been studying a lot this week. That’s because the imminent exam I have coming up is next week. With that in mind, I think my first post next week will be published on Wednesday evening. By then my exam will be done and I can start prioritising other things again! Since it is the 1st July on Wednesday, it only seems fitting to share my planned reading list for the month.

Friday’s post will be another First Lines Friday feature. As yet I haven’t decided what book I’ll be featuring next week, but I think I am going to try and set a theme. It’s a little more fun that way rather than it just being random. With that in mind, this week’s book is going to be a five-star rated read.

 

So, that’s all from me this week! Sorry it’s not a longer update. What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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Shelf Control #21 – 26/06/2020

Today’s Shelf Control features yet another book on my TBR because I think we’ve ascertained I have no s(h)elf control when it comes to books! 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.

In today’s post, I am featuring yet another classic novel that I want to read. The author of this classic isn’t new to me, so I’m confident I’ll be able to read and enjoy it. This was just one of the books I added to my list in a classics blitz – I decided one day that I should make an effort to read more and so added a bunch to the TBR all at once.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

Goodreads – The Grapes of Wrath

The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers.

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

 

My Thoughts…

If you’d asked me if I would ever pick up another book by John Steinbeck after I initially read Of Mice and Men, I would have answered no. I hated Of Mice and Men to start with. It was boring, depressing and it was a book I had to study for school. There is something about having to write essays about books… or micro-analyse them that sucks the joy out of reading. That’s why I disliked this first book so much.

I did actually read it again in 2017 and my attitude towards it was completely different. I had struggled to get on with this for my GCSE’s, but I read it within a couple of hours. And I enjoyed it! My newfound appreciation for Of Mice and Men is the driving force behind wanting to try The Grapes of Wrath. It’s also a classic, but I feel it will have the same vibe as Of Mice and Men and cover a period of history that is of interest to me – the Great Depression.

Have you read The Grapes of Wrath? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Never Ever Tell – Kirsty Ferguson

Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson. I very kindly received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. As always, I like to take the opportunity to thank both the author and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to take part!

Just a quick word before I begin my review to make readers aware that this book includes a number of sensitive and potentially upsetting topics, including domestic abuse, rape and suicide. If you aren’t comfortable with this, please take this as a fair warning so you can stop reading now.

 

Never Ever Tell – Kirsty Ferguson

Goodreads – Never Ever Tell

She’d do anything for her boy…

Vanessa Sawyer knows all about pain. She’s felt it every day since marrying the boy who fathered her baby in high school. All he’s meant are broken bones, broken heart and broken dreams.  But he also brought her the love of her life. When her son Wren was born, her baby boy was her salvation.

Vanessa watches Wren grow and become a young man she can be proud of. Until one night everything changes, including Wren. One night that her son refuses to speak of. Now Vanessa can’t rest, not until she uncovers the secret that her son has been hiding from her.

Will she find the answers she’s searching for or will her quest for the truth take her to a dark place where all hope is lost?

One evil act. One tragedy. Lives destroyed forever.

Page-turning, heart-pounding and unforgettable, Kirsty Ferguson has written the perfect novel for all fans of B. A. Paris and Adele Parks.

 

Purchase Link – Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

Never Ever Tell is a gripping thriller that makes you question everything about the people you think you know. The story is told predominantly from the viewpoint of Vanessa Sawyer, a woman who has been to hell and back throughout her lifetime, yet always tried to do her best by her children to give them a better life than she had.

As characters go, Vanessa has to be one of the most three dimensional, well-developed characters I have ever come across. A lot of time is invested into Vanessa’s history, which all has relevance to the story. From being taken advantage of as a young girl to becoming a mother, your heart goes out to Vanessa for all she has suffered. She is downtrodden, blamed for everything that happens and subjected to abuse from friends and family alike. Her only salvation is her children, particularly her eldest, Wren.

Yet when Wren, her beautiful, open, honest boy – her best friend – starts keeping a secret, Vanessa becomes obsessed with discovering the truth. Her obsession takes over and she neglects everything else. Honestly, I became frustrated with her and her complete lack of empathy for what impact her behaviour was having on others. Vanessa’s fallibility makes her a very realistic character and enjoyable to read… even if you want to shake her to make her see what she’s doing!

The events of the synopsis of Never Ever Tell take part in the second part of the book. Around 50% of the narrative is dedicated to the back story that plays a pivotal part in the devastating events that transpire. I love a lot of detail in character’s back story, but I will be honest and say I wasn’t sure at one point if there was a bit too much background compared to the action in the novel. It was still entertaining to read, so of course, I carried on. It was all worth it! I’m not going to spoil anything, but it all becomes relevant later on in the explosive ending.

And man, that conclusion I did not see coming at all! It made the book for me. I love thrillers that throw you a complete curveball and make you think back to see if you should have spotted the clues to the end sooner. This book definitely made me do that, although I don’t think I would have ever anticipated that ending!

 

Author Bio –

Kirsty Ferguson is a born and bred Australian. She writes crimes and mystery novels. Her stories center around strong women and dark themes that are topical and relevant to today. Kirsty chooses to deconstruct and enthrall her readers with the secrets of any everyday person behind closed doors. She has long been a lover or writing and reading, creating stories from a young age

Social Media Links –
https://www.kirstyferguson.com

https://twitter.com/kfergusonauthor

https://www.instagram.com/kirstyfergusonauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/authorkirstyferguson

 

 

Sunday Summary – 21st June 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome back to my weekly update post. I hope you have all had a good week and a good weekend celebrating Father’s Day? I was fortunate enough to be able to spend mine with my dad, and although we didn’t do too much, it was lovely to spend the time together.

I’ve kept the blog content pretty light this week as I have been busy with a few other things. I’ve finally got the thumbs up that the exam I had scheduled for next month is going ahead, so I’ve been studying a little more than usual. That said, I did publish a couple of posts this week. On Tuesday I shared the Stay at Home Book Tag. It has been ages since I’ve done a post like that and it was good fun! Friday’s regular First Lines Friday feature post shared the opening lines to a book I have on my TBR. I bought this book after reading the author’s debut novel. I was so impressed with it and I’m hopeful this will also live up to expectation.

 

Books Read

This week’s reading progress has been pretty good. In addition to studying, I managed to finish reading part 2 of A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin. That also means I’ve finally finished my re-read of the series! I started at the end of 2018 as I wanted to read them again before the next book, The Winds of Winter comes out. There is still no publication date for that yet, so it’s a good job I didn’t rush! I’ll probably be able to read them all again before it comes out. That’s not a complaint, don’t get me wrong. I would much rather GRRM took his time to get it right rather than rush it…

My second read this week was Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson. I am taking part in a blog tour tomorrow, and as at writing this post, I have half an hour’s reading time left. So, I have a busy night tonight! Once this post has gone live, I need to finish that and then write my review of the book ready to go live in the morning.

I haven’t really listened to much of Whispers Underground this week. Maybe half an hour at most.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been *good* this week and I haven’t bought or added any books to the TBR this week. I’ve just spent my money on everything else instead…

 

Coming Up…

I’ve already given you a big lead as to what is coming up next week. My first post of the week is going live first thing in the morning. It has been a little while since I shared a blog tour post, so I’m looking forward to getting back into it. I’m not signing up for as many tours as I had previously, but I still enjoy doing them. Tomorrow’s post is a review of Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson.

My next post will be a Friday feature as I need some focused time on studying. Next week’s post is a Shelf Control post, so I’ll be looking at the next book on my TBR and discussing what I like about it and why I want to read it. I hope you can join me for that!

As always, I’ll wrap up the week with another Sunday Summary post!

I’ll wrap things up here as I still have a bit of reading to do and another post to write tonight! What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 19/06/2020

Hi everyone – it’s the end of the week and I’m looking forward to sharing another First Lines Friday post. It has been nearly a month since my last post and I’m glad to be getting back into it! Today’s featured book is the second novel I have by this particular author. I read and loved the first book of hers and I have discussed it on my blog many times. I bought my copy of this second book not that long after, although I am still yet to read it.

Are you familiar with it based on the introduction?

 

Never go back. That’s what people always tell you. Things will have changed. They won’t be the way you remembered. Leave the past in the past. Of course, the last one is easier said than done. The past has a habit of repeating on you. Like a bad curry.

I don’t want to go back. Really. There are several things higher up on my wish list, like being eaten alive by rats, or line dancing. This is how badly I don’t’ want to see the craphole I grew up in ever again. But sometimes, there is no choice except the wrong choice.

That’s why I find myself driving along a winding A-road, through the North Nottinghamshire countryside, at barely seven o’clock in the morning. I haven’t seen this road for a long time. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen 7 a.m. for a long time.

 

Would you like to find out which book I am featuring this week?

 

The Taking of Annie Thorne – C. J. Tudor

Goodreads – The Taking of Annie Thorne

The new spine-tingling, sinister thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalk Man.

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her. Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie. I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

 

I feel like I am always saying this, but I can’t wait to pick this up and see how it compares with The Chalk Man. Honestly, that is one of the best books I have read lately, so I can only hope The Taking of Annie Thorne is just as good!

Thanks for tuning in to today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read the book or any others by C. J. Tudor?

 

 

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Stay at Home Book Tag

Hey guys! In my Sunday Summary post a couple of days ago I told you that I was going to be sharing a little bit more of a fun post this week. It’s been absolutely ages since I’ve done a tag and I read a great one over on The Book Dutchesses’s blog last week. Please go and check out Candyce’s answers to this tag – I’m sure you’ll enjoy her take on the post as much as I did!

It’s the Stay at Home tag… only appropriate in light of all the quarantining we have had to do lately! I’m glad to share that it has actually come to an end here in the Isle of Man. The borders are still closed, but we’ve had no active cases for about two weeks and no new positive tests for nearly four weeks as of this post.

 

Laying In Bed: A Book You Read In A Day

I certainly haven’t had the chance to read a book in a day during quarantine. Despite being at home, I am fortunate enough to still be able to work remotely and so I haven’t had the time. I’ll also come on to this later on in the post, but there is one other pretty big thing that’s happened since the pandemic started which has taken up my time.

The last book I read in a day, as far as I recall, was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. Technically I read it across two days, but within 24 hours so it still counts as far as I’m concerned. I have read other short stories and novellas since then, but that feels like a bit of a cheat to count them. The Silent Patient is around 325 pages, so a good size book to have crammed into a day!

 

Snacking: A Guilty Pleasure Read

I’m not a big fan of books that are heavily based around character relationships, but the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is the exception to the rule and for that reason, they are my guilty pleasure. The relationship itself is about companionship and belonging with someone who has the same ideals as you… even though the rest of the world thinks it’s impossible. It’s not lewd or even particularly sexual, which is why I enjoy this series so much!

 

Netflix: A Series You Want To Start

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I’ve read eight books of his so far across three series’ (or future series in the case of Elantris). One series that I haven’t started yet is Skyward. I love the fantasy novels of his that I have read so far, but I’m looking forward to seeing how well he writes science-fiction. I bought this book just before lockdown, so an apt feature here.

 

Deep Clean: A Book That’s Been On Your TBR Forever

As Candyce said in her post, I could also write an incredibly long list of books that have been on my TBR forever! I am trying to work through them (albeit slowly at the moment), but I’ll get there eventually. The book I’m featuring here could equally have been a candidate for the previous topic, but it’s best suited here. Not saying I am trying to get through every Sanderson book written ever or anything, but…

 

Animal Crossing: A Book You Bought Because Of The Hype

The last book I bought based on fabulous reviews and hype in the book blogging community was Circe by Madeleine Miller and honestly, it was a little bit of a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it. It was a perfectly acceptable read. I just didn’t think it lived up to the hype. There’s a good lesson learned there because I won’t be so quick to make the same mistake again. Circe was a little out of my comfort zone as I have scarce knowledge of Greek gods at best. Ironically, I have gone on to buy more books because I enjoy the topic. Next time I read a massive hype about a book, I’ll seriously consider whether it’s my cup of tea in the first place. If the book doesn’t appeal to me in its own right, then I shouldn’t buy it.

 

Productivity: A Book You Learned From Or Had An Impact On You

The last book that had an impact on me is one I reviewed during quarantine. I’m a huge fan of books based around WW2… morbid I know, but I’m fascinated. Cilka’s Journey taught me something I didn’t know – that some prisoners from the camps after they were ‘liberated’ were forced into labour camps elsewhere for several years afterwards for ‘aiding the Nazi’s’. They basically went from one hell to another. It’s hard to imagine having to go through that!

 

FaceTime: A Book You Were Gifted

I’ve been gifted a few books over the years. I feel sorry for family members who have ever considered trying to get me a book as a gift because knowing what I have and don’t have would be an impossible task. I only really get books if I specifically ask for them – otherwise, it’s a trusty voucher. I’m not complaining, I take great delight in spending them! I love wandering around my local Waterstones… especially if it’s spending money that isn’t mine!

One book I was gifted that I wasn’t expecting was Dune by Frank Herbert. I got this about three years ago for my birthday from a collection put together by my work colleagues. It’s a science-fiction novel, and it’s a bit of a classic of the genre, so I would have probably discovered and added this to my TBR in my own time anyway. I hadn’t heard of it when I got it, but it was such a great choice for me and I was really chuffed to get it.

 

Self Care: One Thing You’ve Done Recently To Look After Yourself

I definitely can’t pinpoint this to one, as I’ve had some pretty big changes in my life since lockdown began. The most significant act of self-care I’ve done is to move house. Now you’re probably thinking… that doesn’t sound like self-care at all! It has been stressful – especially so as I couldn’t have any help from friends or family. It was worth it though. I’ve upgraded from my flat so I have more space and more potential to make this place my own… plus, it’s an investment in my future. That definitely is self-care, just a bit more long term than the traditional definition perhaps!

In the short term, I have picked up crochet again and just recently finished making a baby blanket for a friend and then a jumper for myself! It’s been a good few years since I last picked it up, so I’m really happy with how well I’ve managed to get back into it. I’m also working on an afghan throw for my bed made up of all different coloured/patterned squares. It’s a huge project and still a work in progress!

 

Bonus: An Upcoming Release You’re Looking Forward To

Predictable I know, but I am sneaking in another Brandon Sanderson book here! The fourth book of The Stormlight Archives is due to be published in November this year and I’m really excited about it! I’ve read the first book, The Way of Kings so far, but I’ve been holding off reading more of the series since he’s not even halfway through writing them yet! I think I can justify treating myself to the second book now…

So, those are my answers to the Stay at Home Book Tag! It was nice to write a more casual post. If you like reading these, let me know in the comments and I’ll make an effort to publish some more! If you want to take part in the tag, please do and tag me in so I can see your answers!

Are there any upcoming releases you are looking forward to?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 14th June 2020

Hey guys – I can’t believe I’m here again, writing another Sunday Summary post. This week seems to have gone pretty quickly for me, although I can’t particularly pinpoint why. I guess I’ve been kept busy with reading, studying and the odd job around the house as well. I’ve not really been prioritising blogging this week in favour of these other things, particularly studying. I’m supposed to have an exam at the beginning of next month and I’m waiting on confirmation if that is actually going ahead or not. For the moment, for obvious reasons, I am treating it as if it is going ahead and so it’s getting a lot of focus.

I did spend a little time on my blog this week and I shared a book review of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson on Thursday. I am a huge fan of many of his books and Elantris is no different! If you haven’t had a read of that post yet, please check it out!

 

Books Read

I’ve made good progress with A Dance with Dragons this week. Since finishing a crochet project I was working on (a lovely yellow jumper I can’t wait to wear in the winter), I’ve spent more time reading again. Last week I was 35% of the way through the book; this week I am just under 70%. This book had around 70 pages of appendices and an excerpt of The Winds of Winter, at the end. So, realistically, I only have a few chapters left of the book. Just less than a hundred pages in fact! I’m going to try and finish it by tomorrow at the latest! That will be my re-read of A Game of Thrones done! I started about a year and a half ago, so it’s taken a while! I’ll have to sate my Game of Thrones fix by reading Fire and Blood whilst I wait for the next book…

As well as reading A Dance with Dragons, I’ve also listened to a few chapters of Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch. I finished Moon over Soho last week and I’m jumping into the next book already. I’ve taken so this series really well and I’m enjoying it, so why not carry on with it?

 

Books Discovered

I saw a post on my personal Facebook account the other day about books, and how the BBC apparently reckons the average adult has read only 6 out of the 100 they list. I shared the post ticking off the books I have read, which currently stands at 13. Given how much I read, I’d have been disappointed with myself if I’d only come out at the average number. I’m pleased with 13, but realistically I have many more of the books on my TBR to read. I’ve just counted and there are 10 that are already on my TBR list. I did make one addition to my TBR as one title popped up on that list that I didn’t have.

I remember years ago I picked up The Colour Purple by Alice Walker and read the opening pages in my school library. It was definitely in my earlier school years, so I was perhaps 11-12, and it really stuck with me. I sensed it was a bit too mature for me back then and so I didn’t check it out, but now I think it’s something I want to read properly. So, this week it got added to the TBR.

 

Coming Up…

There is still quite a bit of reading to do this month. I’m also conscious of a blog tour I need to be prepared for the week after next. That said, I am still going to schedule a few posts for you next week though. I happened across a fun book tag on another blog and I haven’t shared anything like that lately. So, I’ve decided to give it a go and have a bit of a fun post to kick off the week.

In addition to that, I’m also planning on recommencing my Friday feature posts. It will have been nearly a month since I shared such a post by the time next week’s First Lines Friday post goes live. I really like sharing these and they are quite easy for me to put together. I’ll still have plenty of time to get, what I need to, done.

What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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Book Review: Elantris – Brandon Sanderson

Hi guys and welcome back to another blog post – a book review! In today’s post I’ll be sharing my thoughts on a highly-rated read from last year… Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. It’s no secret that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite fantasy authors. Since my teenage years I have read no less than eight of his books, including Elantris, and I’ve given them all a five star rating. He’s a brilliant writer of vastly different stories, and we are here to talk about one of those today.

So, without further preamble, let’s jump into my thoughts on Elantris.

 

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Elantris

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

 

My Thoughts…

Elantris has all the elements I love in a fantasy novel – magic, a political threat and an altruistic hero. I praise the magic Brandon Sanderson creates in his worlds a lot and for good reason. Although built on the same principle, the magic he incorporates into his stories has a kind of physical element to it. There are rules to its use and how it works and so it is almost scientific in nature. That might not seem very interesting, but I really like that about it. I like how it can’t be used easily to cover up inconvenient plot holes, but most importantly, it gives it credibility.

I’ve read all the Mistborn books published to date, as well as The Way of Kings from the Stormlight Archives. They are all great for their own reasons, but I love the individuality each story has. These books were written at various stages of Sanderson’s writing career, with Elantris being the earliest. If I hadn’t known that already, would I have been able to tell? Not really. I saw a few reviews and comments about this being his ‘weakest’ book, but if that’s the case then I seriously look forward to catching up on the rest of his books!

Elantris differs from Sanderson’s later books in that the focus of the story revolves around one geographical location, Kae/Elantris. There is a decent amount of world-building and inclusion of other nations within the narrative, but perhaps a smidgen less than some other books. The inclusion of these nations stems from political persons that travel to Kae. Personally, I really enjoyed Sarene’s character. She is far from the political pawn you expect her to be from the outset. When her marriage falls through in the absence of her betrothed, she doesn’t wallow in self-pity. She steps up to protect the interests of her country against an oppressor in other ways, all the while investigating prince Raoden’s disappearance.

Elantris is a respectably long book (over 600 pages), yet I read this in just over a week. I really enjoyed the narrative style and the storyline. What’s even better is at some point in the future, this is going to become a series! I can’t wait to see where the author takes this and what happens next…

Have you read Elantris, or any other novels by Brandon Sanderson? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 7th June 2020

Hi guys! Welcome back to another Sunday Summary update from me. I hope you have had a good week?

This week has felt a little more normal to me. After the busyness of last week and all the home improvements I’ve been doing, it has been nice to enjoy a little time off. It’s not for a lack of stuff that needs doing; I still have some tidy up jobs to do but until yesterday I lacked the tools to do it. I’ll be back at it next week!

I shared two blog posts with you this week – my June Reading List and an audiobook review for Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. If you haven’t caught up with either of these posts I’ve posted the links here.

 

Books Read

This week I have been making more progress with A Dance with Dragons pt 2 and I am now approximately 35% of the way through the book. I’ll be reading this again tonight and hopefully picking it up more frequently next week. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to make some better progress soon.

In addition to ADWD, I also continued listening to Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I actually listened to this last night whilst working on a jumper I’ve been crocheting. I only had a couple of hours left or so and managed to finish this in one sitting last night.

 

Books Discovered

I have bought a few more books this week, but none of them are discoveries particularly. Since I finished Moon over Soho and I’m really enjoying the series, I spent 3 of the audible credits I had accumulated on the next few books in the series. I’m invested now and it makes sense to me to continue to enjoy these on the same medium.

In addition to the above, I also bought a kindle copy of a book today. I had an email about a deal on a book in a series I’m currently reading. In fact, I’m coincidentally reading one of these books a little later this month! I love the Saxon stories series by Bernard Cornwell and I was always going to read Sword of Kings at some point anyway. So, it made sense to get a copy now.

 

Coming Up…

Since I am going to be doing a few bits around the house and studying in case my exam goes ahead next month, my posting schedule is going to be a little light. Midweek I am going to share a review of a fantasy novel by one of my favourite authors – Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. I read this book towards the end of last year and it has been eagerly awaiting a review since then. I really enjoyed this book (as I have all Sanderson books, to be fair) and I’m going to be sharing why with you very soon!

Then, as usual, I’ll give you my round-up of the week in a Sunday Summary post.

That’s all from me in this Sunday Summary post! What have you been reading? Have you read any of the books mentioned in today’s post?

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Today’s audiobook review is for my second historical fiction novel by Heather Morris. I loved listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz despite its subject matter, so I knew I had to listen to Cilka’s Journey as well!

As if the events of Auschwitz aren’t harrowing enough, Cilka’s Journey centres around a young woman who is imprisoned in a labour camp after being liberated from the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau site. She is imprisoned for helping the Nazis – her crime: prostituting herself to them… like she had a choice!

 

Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Goodreads – Cilka’s Journey

In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again.

Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis–with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to survive.

 

My Thoughts…

The first thing I loved about this story is that it taught me something new. I didn’t actually know about the labour camps and the trials men and women such as Cilka went through. So much is known about the conditions and the treatment of prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau and I think it’s overshadowed other events following the Second World War. I have read a few books around the subject now, but nothing like this.

As with The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the tale is based on a real person’s account of what happened to them. Reading about it in a fictional sense is upsetting enough, but knowing that many people lived through such a terrible experience is even more harrowing. There is a lot of detail to the narrative, which I really enjoy; it validates the authenticity of the events and conditions people were forced to live in. It also makes it very easy for us as listeners/readers to put ourselves in Cilka’s shoes, feel her pain, sorrow, and a few moments of joy.

The bleak descriptions of the bitterly cold Siberian labour camp are haunting. Living in such cruel conditions made the lives of these women very difficult, especially for those left weak from their time in the concentration camp. It’s frighteningly easy to feel the isolation these women have from the rest of the world. Not all is bleak, however, as many strong friendships are forged between them in their common suffering. They have few personal possessions of their own, but readily give up what they can to help others. They find solace in each other and help one another through their darkest days.

This is an audiobook review, so it’s only fair to comment on how well the audiobook is narrated. The narrator Louise Brealey’s narration style is fantastic. Cilka’s Journey is an emotional account of horrific events and her ability to encapsulate the emotion makes it even easier for the reader (listener) to immerse themselves with the story.

As I hope you can tell from the review, this was a five-star read (listen) for me. I absolutely loved it and I’m sure it’s a book I will go back and read again!

Have you read Cilka’s Journey or The Tattooist of Auschwitz? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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