Reading List – September 2018

Good evening folks… I hope you are having a great weekend!

A new month is upon us once again, so it’s time to dust off the shelves and see which books I’ll be reading in September! Ironically, I’ll actually be reading the books on my list for Blog Tours mostly this month, so the TBR isn’t taking much of a dent. Shall we have a look at which books I’ll be reading/featuring on my blog soon?

 

The Barefoot Road – Vivienne Vermes

Goodreads – The Barefoot Road

 

Vivienne Vermes’ debut novel is a gripping read which will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers and evocative themes. The book begins with a young woman found, emaciated and unconscious, in the mountains surrounding a village in Transylvania. When it is discovered that she is of an ethnic group which was violently driven out of the regions many years before, old wounds are reopened as the villagers are reminded of their role in the bloodshed.

An uneasy peace is maintained until a young married man falls in love with the girl, and tension begin to rise within the community. The mysterious disappearance of a child causes this tension to mount into hysteria, driving the story to its chilling outcome.

 

I’m looking forward to taking part in the upcoming tour for the novel, which has been organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. My review of the book will be published on 23rd September. I hope you can join me for that.

I was drawn to the book by the synopsis, in particular, the mystery of the girl and what kind of hysteria is associated following her presence in the town.

 

 

Ragis – Donna Migliaccio

Ragis

Goodreads – Ragis

 

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him.

And now his companions, his ship and its precious cargo have been taken hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.

 

I first featured this series on my blog at the beginning of this year… and I have really come to love it! Ragis is the fourth installment – anyone who wants to brush up on the earlier books can do so by reading my reviews of Kinglet, Fiskur and StoneKing by following the links.

I love epic fantasy, so being a part of the Blog Tour for Ragis was a no-brainer for me! I’m reviewing this book as a part of the tour on 25th September.

 

 

A Stain on the Soul – Elizabeth Davies

Caitlyn is resigned to another lifetime of being a familiar – the witch’s lifetime that is, not her own – and has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.

That peace is shattered when she returns to England and comes face-to-face with her past, and with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.

 

I am reading the first book of this series, Three Bloody Pieces at the moment. As yet, the cover has not been revealed for this book, but that is being published later this month! The Blog Tour is taking place in October, but to make sure I have plenty of time to read this, it is on September’s TBR.

 

 

Desolation – Jesper Schmidt

Goodreads – Desolation

 

Just as Aea had finally found happiness in her troubled life, everything starts to fall apart. When she discovers that her sister, Isota, is still alive, Aea ventures to save her, well aware that every Duian who leaves the forest realm of Thaduin will inevitably catch a deadly disease, the Field Blight. Aea finds herself in a race against time.

Arkum’Sul really wants nothing but to be left alone. Being the sole survivor of his race, and the son of a dragon god, makes such desires difficult to fulfill.

Meanwhile, Ayida, another Duian, resides in the Bronze Tower, far north of Thaduin, where she has grown to become a powerful spellcaster. However, it requires all of her skills to heal herself of the Field Blight daily. This place is the heart of the Magio Order, a dominant organization of female magic-wielders, where Ayida has tried for decades to ascend from Apprentice to the rank of Sienna… and failed every time. As she makes another attempt, all goes horribly wrong.

Will the world of Erisdün survive as ancient myths and reality become one?

 

I’ve had an ARC copy of this book to read for some time…but something else always managed to creep up and take priority. Well, enough is enough! Described as a “fast-paced fantasy, with dragons, demons, and magic”, I really hope to enjoy reading this one!

It’s waited long enough…

 

 

Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies

“I am a cat. But I am no ordinary cat. I am a witch’s familiar. I am also a woman, with a woman’s heart and a woman’s frailty.”​

Two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by dark magic and she has known many mistresses. This time the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife to Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.

For Caitlyn, this mistress appears no different from any of the others she has been forced to serve. That is, until Llewelyn captures William de Braose and holds him and his men prisoner, and Joan falls for William and risks everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.​

Caitlyn, meanwhile, has her own cross to bear in the form of the gallant and reckless Hugh of Pembroke…

 

This is the third book in the Caitlin series, and again, no cover has been revealed as yet. This is due to come out in October, with my review on the blog tour coming at the very beginning of November. I figure I am as well continuing with the series whilst it is fresh in my mind. That also means that I can have my review prepared in plenty of time for the Tour!

 

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

Goodreads – The 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.

 

Yes, this is on the list AGAIN!

I managed to read about half of the book last month, so I am pleased with that much. It’s a long book, okay? It’s also quite difficult to follow. I found myself picking it up and reading other books in between last month, just because I needed the breaks to digest what was going on. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the same this month and work my way to the end!

 

So… that’s the list! What are you reading this month?

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #14

 Hi everyone! Today, I am going to be reviewing my TBR with another Down the TBR hole post!

For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

 

Let’s review the next ten books on my list!

 

Carrie – Stephen King

Goodreads – Carrie

Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed… But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction…

 

I refuse to take Carrie off of my list. It is a book I really want to read, as it is one of King’s better known titles. If not the book, there are plenty of people who have seen the film. My parents fall in the latter category and they recommended it to me as well. It’s a keeper!

Verdict: Keep

 

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

Goodreads – American Psycho

Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and he works on Wall Street, he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to head-on collision with America’s greatest dream—and its worst nightmare—American Psycho is bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognise but do not wish to confront.

 

I have sat and read reviews of this book for about 20 minutes solid, and I am REALLY undecided. When I added the book, I expected a sociopathic murderer. It seems that there is far more to this book than I initially expected. I can’t decide if I want to read it or not. It is graphic in its descriptions and… shall we say, not very complimentary to women. A part of me wants to be repulsed and the other is curious about why others are massacring this book/author. 

Curiosity killed the cat, but I’ll take my chances.

Verdict: Keep

 

In the Blood – Steve Robinson

Goodreads – In the Blood

Two hundred years ago a loyalist family fled to England to escape the American War of Independence and seemingly vanished into thin air. American genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to find out what happened, but it soon becomes apparent that a calculated killer is out to stop him.

In the Blood combines a centuries-old mystery with a present-day thriller that brings two people from opposite sides of the Atlantic together to uncover a series of carefully hidden crimes. Tayte’s research centres around the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and the discovery of a dark secret that he believes will lead him to the family he is looking for. Trouble is, someone else is looking for the same answers and will stop at nothing to find them.

In the Blood is the first book in the Jefferson Tayte mystery series.

 

I first became acquainted with this series when I found The Last Queen of England (book 3) on Goodreads. From there, I read about the first book and the synopsis is really interesting. I think the emphasis on the family genealogy makes for an interesting plot, so I’m going to be reading this book in the future.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Stone in the Skull – Elizabeth Bear

Goodreads – The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.

The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.

 

Whatever it was that compelled me to add this to the TBR a year ago has pretty much gone.

I must have been looking for other fantasy books to read, but this one just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

Verdict: Bin

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco

Goodreads – Stalking Jack the Ripper

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

 

I just love the sound of this novel… and the historical ties hinted at within too. I used to watch Ripper Street – it was one of my favourite TV shows, before they stopped it! ARGH! Ahem, anyway… it’s the perfect time period. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t all for a woman breaking the conventions society have built for her, because you know, they were oppressive.

Verdict: Keep

 

Consider Phlebas – Iain M. Banks

Goodreads – Consider Phlebas

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

 

I added this because I saw a great review for it I’ve been trying to incorporate more sci-fi into my reading, but on looking back at this, it might be too much. I’m not great when it comes to technical details and I just feel this is going to be a bit too hard-hitting for me.

Verdict: Bin

 

The Scorch Trials – James Dashner

Goodreads – The Scorch Trials

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

 

I enjoyed reading The Maze Runner last year. It was the rare exception in which I had watched the film first. Did I love it enough to continue with the series? I’m not so sure anymore. I feel that the demographic the series was written for doesn’t really suit me anymore. If I were to read this, I think it would be forced… and that’s not a way to enjoy a book. Time to call it a day, I think.

Verdict: Bin

 

Invictus – Ryan Graudin

Goodreads – Invictus

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

 

I like the time travel concept behind this plot. It is one of the science fiction themes I CAN get my head around. I’m also intrigued by the heist on the Titanic, as it grounds the story to something familiar. Sometimes, time travel (for me anyway) can get confusing if it is all based in the future, or without some kind of “landmark”. I think this will make an enjoyable read, so it’s staying on the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

99 Red Balloons – Elisabeth Carpenter

Goodreads – 99 Red Balloons

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

 

I was so sure I was going to enjoy reading this book when I originally added it to the list. Having read the synopsis again, I stand by my decision. It’s the kind of drama I would watch on TV… if I watched TV. I hardly watch it lately and yet I’m stupid enough to pay for it! Anyway… I digress. This kind of mystery is right up my street. I think this may be getting bumped up the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Sun God’s Heir: Return – Elliott Baker

Goodreads – The Sun God’s Heir: Return

The Sun God’s Heir is a swashbuckling series, set at the end of the seventeenth century in France, Spain and northern Africa. Slavery is a common plague along the European coast and into this wild time, an ancient Egyptian general armed with dark arts has managed to return and re-embody, intent on recreating the reign of terror he began as Pharaoh. René Gilbert must remember his own lifetime at the feet of Akhenaten to have a chance to defeat Horemheb. A secret sect has waited in Morocco for three thousand years for his arrival.

 

I remember being really excited for this when I first saw it. I bought a copy straight away.

I’m not saying that I’ve changed my mind – I still think this will make for an enjoyable read. I am just a little less enthused than I was then.

I have a copy, so I’ll keep it and try it. You never know… I might come to love it! So… that’s the list! Have you read any of these books? Is there anything you would change? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 26th August 2018

It hasn’t been a good week on the reading front; I’ll hold up my hands and be honest. I’ve been putting off writing this Sunday Summary in the hopes that I could somehow redeem myself… but no. To an extent I have an excuse – I have family visiting again, so I’ve spent pretty much the last three days with them. That doesn’t really make up for the rest of the week though. Let me tell you what I have done! I have to make this sound good somewhere…

On Tuesday I published my audiobook review of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. I have been listening to the audiobook on and off for absolutely AGES. It feels good to have been able to wrap that one up at last!

Then, on Thursday, I continued my new Throwback Thursday mini-review series by featuring The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence. I was gobsmacked to receive thanks from the author for my review! Unless I am writing a review as part of an active request, I feel awkward tagging authors in my posts, so I don’t. It just goes to show that even so, authors can still find your work.

 

Books Read

 

Okay, so this section of my post is going to be abysmal. Sure, it looks good because there is three pictures… but its bad news. Brace yourselves.

On Sunday, after publishing last week’s Sunday Summary post, I blitzed The Relic Guild by Edward Cox. I suppose this is the one section of “good news” because finishing that equated to reading the last seventy pages or so in one sitting, quite late on. I got to bed about 1am. Aha… That’s it on the positive front.

I read one chapter of The Eye of the World, during a lunch hour last week. That equates to 3%. So much for trying to make progress on this!

Knowing that time was running short, I picked up the next book on the list. Three Bloody Pieces fared a little better in terms of reading time. I managed to read the first few chapters of this one, equating to about 10%. Still not great, I know. And I did all this in one sitting on Friday night… because I had sussed that it was a bad week at this point.

 

 

I guess I shouldn’t beat myself up. We all have bad weeks. Yes, I had a few things on, but I know I procrastinated plenty too. Try harder next time, Rebecca.

 

Books Discovered

 

I’ve not been too out of control this week, I am pleased to say. I may not have been reading enough to take books off the list, but I’ve not really added them either.

I have only purchased one book this week, and it is a copy of The Truth by Terry Pratchett. I am slowly working my way through the Discworld series, so technically, this is already on my list. It’s a few books down the line, admittedly, but I was always going to get to it. Might as well buy it when at a discounted price, right?!

 

Coming Up…

Because I have family over, the schedule is going to be a little different this week!

down the tbr holeInstead of my usual Tuesday review, I am going to allow myself some breathing space. I am so caught up on reviews, it’s scary. To that end, I am going to look at my TBR and publish the next Down the TBR Hole post. Hopefully, I’ll be able to whittle down the list a little bit more and filter out some books that I’m not so sure about anymore.

I won’t hold my breath! My posts haven’t been very good at shortening the TBR lately…

 

My next post will be published on Saturday, for a change! It’ll be the first of a new month and so it is time to publish my reading list for September! I have lots of ARCs to read and blog tours coming up, so it’s going to be a busy one!

I’ll have to get a wriggle on!

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Broken Empire – Mark Lawrence

As a reader and reviewer of fantasy novels, I spend a lot of my time talking about the tropes of the genre. More often than not, I’m criticising one or another as I feel they are overused. An orphaned child becoming the Chosen one. A prophetic coming-of-age tale is but another common example.

The series I am featuring today should be recognised for not following the footsteps of others by relying on common fantasy themes that now define the genre – The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

 

Synopsis…

Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.

From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

 

My Thoughts…

To suggest that Jorg Ancrath is an anti-hero is a major understatement. He is a See You Next Tuesday kind of guy.

Kids, if you don’t know what this means, you are too young for this series and my review. Come back in ten years… and for god’s sake don’t Google it either.

The series is definitely for those of a more mature mindset. I read these at the age of 18 and the content didn’t particularly bother me. It’s bloody, violent and hints at sexual violence. It’s a series that you will either really get on with, or these things will make you run for the hills.

 

I, however, really enjoyed reading this series with a **less-than-perfect** main character.

 

There are a lot of fantasy books with main characters that have great intentions but screw up somewhere down the line. Whilst there are a good number of altruistic people out there, realistically most people aren’t. We have moments of selfishness. We want things we shouldn’t, or we behave inappropriately. We are only human after all.

Jorg’s character takes this to an EXTREME level; I am not condoning his actions for a second. That being said, I found it refreshing to read the anti-hero’s side from a human, intimate perspective. Many demonise these characters and define them only for their crimes… not who they are. Jorg had a troubled childhood. This is not offered as an excuse, but more an explanation. As a reader, you cannot help but pity the young boy for his position and root for him to redeem himself.

If you were in his position, would you not seek redemption in much the same way?

Audiobook Review: Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

I feel like this review is a little overdue, just because Nevernight took so long to listen to.

It’s no fault of the audiobook at all – I loved it (and I’ll go into more detail on that below). I haven’t been able to listen to it as quickly as I would like though. Typically I listen to audiobooks in the morning, whilst getting ready for work. Lately, I’ve been finding it difficult to wake up and get out of bed. As a result of being tired, I can’t concentrate, so I didn’t want to start listening to Nevernight and find myself lost.

Anyway, less self-pity and more of the review!

 Nevernight

Goodreads – Nevernight

Synopsis…

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed listening to this as an audiobook because the narrative is easy to follow. Holter Graham does a fantastic job of bringing each character to life in his own style. The text is itself written as a narration, and the “narrator” is incredibly sassy. No one is safe against a witty remark or sharp retort. There is as much friendship in storytelling as there is training to become an assassin, apparently. I love it!

Naturally with fantasy books, there is the need to impart information about how the realm differs from others. I have to say, this is written exceptionally well; there is never too much information put upon you at any one time. There are gentle reminders to certain facts to refresh the reader’s memory, rather than outright telling us again and treating us like idiots.

The plot itself unfolds in an unexpected way. An environment full of assassins is hardly going to be safe and predictable. Jay Kristoff has developed each of his characters so well, however, that anything can happen. And I mean anything. That can also include some… steamy things. Things that I shouldn’t want to listen to at 7am in the morning. But I kinda did? It wasn’t too alienating; otherwise, I wouldn’t like it AT ALL! It was okay though. I don’t think it contributed a whole lot to the storyline, but you can’t help but want the two characters to reach out to each other.

The magic in the book is desirably dark. Mia thrives in the shadows, and the amount of distrust for her kind adds a new depth to the mystery of those known as Darken. Just when you think you have seen Mia at her most powerful, cunning and daring, she will surprise you yet again.

 

Conclusion…

All these things make a great combination within dark fantasy. It is deadly, gruesome, brutal and backstabbing, and as a result I loved every second of it. I cannot wait to listen to Godsgrave.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 19th August 2018

Sunday evenings come around all too quickly! It feels like you literally blink and time has run away from you. Weekends aren’t long enough – who is with me?

If there is one thing I look forward to every Sunday though, it’s re-capping my week and catching you all up on my reading progress.

On Tuesday I shared my review of Individutopia by Joss Sheldon – a dystopian novel in which society does not exist. Individuals compete for their survival. They are expected to apply for new work every day. They cannot see their peers and are reliant on their avatars for social interaction.

On Thursday I began a new series. I wanted to find a way to incorporate books that I read prior to starting my blog into my writing. In this Throwback Thursday series, I am writing mini-reviews… and this week I kicked off with the first three books in The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss.

 

Books Read

I’ve spent this week focussing on reading The Relic Guild by Edward Cox, as I am more likely to finish this book in good time to review it. I am enjoying The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan – but it’s a heavy read, and a book that I will have to work my way through with time. I am hoping to make some progress with The Eye of the World next week though. I’ll let you know how I get on.

I also took a break from audiobooks this week. The next one I have is Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff, which will follow on from Nevernight. I’ve been very tired lately (which is unusual, because my routine hasn’t changed) but consequently, I don’t want to focus on something like an audiobook first thing in the morning. If anything, I’ll listen to music, because I don’t have to concentrate on it. I hope I can get back into it soon.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added a few books to the list this week. This section of my blog always feels like a confessional! Well, I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I do a little bit. Who am I kidding, no I don’t!. So, here goes:-

Playing with Matches by Lee Strauss is a World War II novel. As this is one of my favourite historical fiction settings, it caught my eye immediately. It also has a very good average review rating on Goodreads, so I decided to get myself a copy!

When writing my Throwback Thursday mini-review post, I realised that I had given my copy of The Name of the Wind to charity! I have the rest of The Kingkiller Chronicles series on my kindle, so I bought myself an e-copy of this book too!

On the 17th August a local author, Rona Halsall, published Keep you Safe. Naturally, I want to support anyone local that I can, so I bought a copy! I have really enjoyed the thrillers I have read in the last year or so; reading one set on the Isle of Man should be even more exciting!

The Thief Taker by C. S. Quinn is a book that has been on my TBR since April last year, so I feel less guilty about having finally bought this. Do I need to justify it any more than that? Nope.

 

Coming Up…

INevernight am REALLY up to date with my reviews at the moment. Whilst I finish reading The Relic Guild by Edward Cox, I’ll review the audiobook I recently finished – Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. It’s been a little while since I finished and reviewed an audiobook, so I am looking forward to getting my thoughts to you on this one.

 

 

 

 

I am continuing my new series this week, with another throwback mini-review. Stay tuned to find out which book I am featuring… because I have as much of a clue as you do! Aha!

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss

I wanted to start my new mini-review series with a set of books that I love. Equally, I wanted to choose books that aren’t so cliché that they make for an obvious choice. To that end, I have chosen The Kingkiller Chronicles, or perhaps better known by the first book of the series, The Name of the Wind.

 

The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss

 

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

 

My Thoughts…

This is definitely a series I am going to re-read in my lifetime. I fell in love with the narrative straightaway and the characters shortly after that. I’ve just had a look at my shelf. I used to own a physical copy of The Name of the Wind, but I donated it to charity when I last had a sort out. I have an electronic copy instead, as I own the rest of the series on Kindle. I’ll console myself with the knowledge that someone else has the chance to enjoy a brilliant book.

The tale is narrated by Kvothe; he recounts his life to the well-known traveling scribe, otherwise known as the Chronicler. Kvothe’s triumphs and tribulations are recorded in equal measure. Kvothe is almost unapologetic for the mistakes he makes, which in any other character would border on arrogance. Rothfuss, however, is very good at making our characters likeable… flaws and all.

I also really enjoyed reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a novella that takes the perspective of Auri. Kvothe meets Auri at the University in the main series. It is through The Slow Regard of Silent Things that we come to learn more about this mysterious girl’s life. It is an unusual book, as it is less structured than The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, but again the narrative is beautiful. Auri has a unique and almost innocent perspective; she isn’t quite naive, but her curiosity surpasses that of any child. Becuase of this, she is an adorable character whom you cannot help but take under your wing.

 

Conclusion…

If you love epic fantasy and have the chance to try the series, I seriously implore you to do so. The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear average at 4.5 stars on Goodreads for a reason!

 

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Book Review: Individutopia – Joss Sheldon

Individutopia is enjoyable to read, whether you read it at face value or consider the political/dystopian elements of the plot. Now, I’m not much of a politician, so don’t expect too much rambling from me on that side of the fence. I do think some of the ideas, although extreme, are interesting though. I’ll discuss that in more detail later.

 

*** I was kindly provided with a copy of Individutopia by the author in exchange for a review. All the opinions stated are my own***

Individutopia

Goodreads – Individutopia

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SOCIETY

Beloved friend,

The year is 2084, and that famous Margaret Thatcher quote has become a reality: There really is no such thing as society. No one speaks to anyone else. No one looks at anyone else. People don’t collaborate, they only compete.

I hate to admit it, but this has had tragic consequences. Unable to satisfy their social urges, the population has fallen into a pit of depression and anxiety. Suicide has become the norm.

It all sounds rather morbid, does it not? But please don’t despair, there is hope, and it comes in the form of our hero: Renee Ann Blanca. Wishing to fill the society-shaped hole in her life, our Renee does the unthinkable: She goes in search of human company! It’s a radical act and an enormous challenge. But that, I suppose, is why her tale’s worth recounting. It’s as gripping as it is touching, and I think you’re going to love it…

Your trusty narrator,

PP

 

My Thoughts…

Our narrator is a consistent 3rd person, following the life of Renee Ann Blanca quite intimately. Born into a world with scarcely any human contact, she is raised by a robot until she is old enough to fend for herself. She lives in a pod she cannot even stand in and surrounds herself with virtual avatars to make up for the lack of human company. Renee is stuck in a monotonous, desperate lifestyle of competing against others… until she breaks free.

Individutopia is a nice length – not so short that you don’t have time to get into the narrative but equally it isn’t repetitive, or slow. The light, conversational tone makes the topic less formal and therefore more approachable to the potential reader. In an informal fashion, the novel portrays the differences in the two parallels – society and individualism. I find the tone of the book to help in achieving this without being rigid, forced, or dull.

The time period the narrative takes place in is some years into our future. The social (or lack of) environment is completely alien and to an extent, a degree of world building is required to set the scene. Joss achieves this well, by introducing the reader to various aspects of the “alternative world” (for want of a phrase) gradually and consistently. Clearly, a lot of time and effort has gone into developing this novel. It pays off.

There are a few elements of Invidutopia’s narrative that are a little closer to home than we may like to think. Everything is a competition. Renee is constantly ranked against others. The mindset Renee grows up with is to work, constantly. Those that do not are shamed for it… practically spat upon, if they could see each other to do it, that is.

 

Individutopia today?

Are we pitted against each other? Are we pressured to be the best or look the best now, never mind in this dystopian world? Absolutely! Magazines, television and social media have proven to be huge catalysts to this ideology. Social media has also proven a nasty culprit for isolation – isn’t that ironic.

And here is another thought, ladies, and gents. Be honest, how many of you opt to put your headphones and listen to music privately in your downtime?

I do. I’m guilty. Once upon a time, our forebears couldn’t get out of that awkward chat on public transport by putting headphones in, or spend their lunch hour avoiding as many people as possible. Are we already setting ourselves up for an individualistic world in the future? I hope that nothing as extreme as that in Individutopia comes to pass. It’s an interesting question though.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 12th August 2018

It’s the end of another week friends! Have you all had a good one? It’s been a pretty good one here, I have to say. Despite it being a normal working week, I’ve had the pleasure of reading some pretty fantastic books. That’s what counts, right?

I really enjoyed writing my review for Children of Blood & Bone this week. I think the book is fantastic and I am so glad it has received such a positive reception. Interestingly, I also saw Tomi Adeyemi on BBC News… in which she said that a film was being made of the book! I’ve read the book first, so that’s license to go and watch the film when it’s out. That is if they show it here…

On Friday I also published the latest Down the TBR Hole post, with little success in clearing out the list. I only binned off one book, but at least I know I still want to read the other nine I reviewed. What can I say; I just have good taste in books!

 

Books Read

This week feels like a really productive one!

I have been reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and I will say, it is quite a dense read. Since last week I have progressed from around 20% to 47%. I’m nearly half way! It is hard going at times though. It’s not that the book isn’t enjoyable… it is just that there is a lot going on and a lot of information to process. I’ve found that I read it better when I take breaks and read something else in between chapters.

For a few days, that “something else” has been Individutopia by Joss Sheldon. I would argue that this book is more political type fiction than I would normally read, but I have enjoyed it though! I finished this last night as I listened to the rain belting against the window and the wind howling (perfect reading weather, imho). I’m going to be sharing my thoughts with you really soon, so stay tuned. Reading this book in between has also been useful as I am pretty up to date with reviews – spending too long on Eye of the World would make me struggle for content. It’s a win-win situation.

In the same vein as Individutopia, I have started reading The Relic Guild in between chapters of The Eye of the World. I am only a few chapters in so far, having only started the book last night. I’m enjoying it because it is the first physical book I have picked up in a wee while. Kindles are great for practicality, but they don’t quite replace the real thing though.

Last, but by no means least – I FUFILLED MY PROMISE TO FINISH NEVERNIGHT!!

It’s been a long time coming, but I got there in the end. I tend to listen to audiobooks when getting ready for work in the morning. Lately, I’ve not been sleeping so well – so in the morning I’m too tired to even try to follow it. I’ve done it though! Moving onwards and upwards, I’m listening to Godsgrave next!

 

 

Books Discovered

This feels pretty much like the story of my life. Remember I took one book off the TBR in Friday’s installment of Down the TBR Hole?

Yeah, well I’ve already replaced it.

As I also think I established in that post, I have a particular love for Tudor history – especially Henry VIII. I am really interested in the history of the monarch himself, and his wives, so adding this book to the list was a no-brainer. I saw that the book was on offer for £1.99 – it would have been rude not to?

I’ll tell myself that.

 

 

Coming Up…

IndividutopiaSo, as I previously mentioned, I am going to be sharing my thoughts of Individutopia with you next week! I found the book really easy to read, even though the setting and mindset of our main character was a little extraordinary. If you want to find out more, please check out my review on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

I am also going to be starting another mini-series, friends! I’ve been thinking for a little while about how many books I have read before starting my blog. It’s quite a few! Therefore, to incorporate these books on my blog, I am going to be writing mini-reviews of them! I cannot promise that they are hugely specific (as I read them a long time ago) – but it may just be enough to either introduce a new series to you all, or find other like-minded friends!

I’ll be writing my first post on Thursday!

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #13

Hi everyone – welcome to another Down the TBR hole post!

For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in A Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

Shall we review the next ten books on my list?

 

The Elizabethan World – Lacey Baldwin Smith

Goodreads – The Elizabethan World

The Elizabethan World was a world remade. At the dawn of the sixteenth century, Europe was emerging from an age of ignorance and uncertainty. New lands were being discovered and old ones revitalized. People abandoned the ideals of medieval times to make startling advances in technology, science, and art. Here, award-winning historian Lacey Baldwin Smith vividly brings to life the story of Queen Elizabeth – perhaps the most influential sovereign in England’s history – and the age she created.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth, last of the Tudor monarchs, presided over developments that still shape and inform our lives and culture today, including her patronage of William Shakespeare, the formation of the Church of England, victory over the Spanish Armada, even the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Smith’s keen eye for detail and sense of how those details have echoed through the centuries make this book essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how history works.

 

The Tudor period is my favourite topic of history. I don’t know why I love it so much… it was quite a morbid time (especially for Henry VIII’s wives). I studied the subject extensively at school, and loved watching the TV series with Jonathan Rhys Meyers a couple of years ago.

There is definitely no question about keeping this book on the list!

Verdict: Keep

 

Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn – Malyn Bromfield

Goodreads – Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn

A novel depicting Anne Boleyn’s dramatic downfall through the eyes of a servant in the court of Henry the Eighth.

Avis Grinnel’s life is forever changed when a young musician arrives unexpectedly to escort her to the innermost sanctum of King Henry VIII’s royal court.

However, it is not the king who has demanded her presence but his new queen, the much-disliked Anne Boleyn.

She has been told Avis is a “little cunning wench who has the sight” and demands she uses her powers to divine whether the queen is pregnant with a girl, or with the boy child the king expects.

From the moment she gives her fateful answer, Avis becomes embroiled in an extravagant world of intrigue, deceit and murderous plotting that is far removed from her lowly home life in the king’s kitchens at Greenwich Palace.

She becomes an unwilling participant and watcher in the alliances and misplaced loyalties of court life as the King wages religious war with the Pope and the churches while changing wives and mistresses in his relentless pursuit of a male heir.

Whispers, lies and rumours abound as the Queen fights for her survival and Avis struggles to balance her life of opulence in the royal chambers with the humble world of her baker parents and a mysterious suitor.

Her story is revealed partly as it unfolds and partly as a deeply-felt memory told to the faithful blind White Boy, who has been at her side for most of her life.

The brutal ending of Anne Boleyn’s reign is already known and written into history but this dramatic and vividly drawn story records the stark reality with an intricate and colourful portrayal of life at all levels in Tudor England.

 

I must have been in a history-buff mood this day, as I added this at the same time as The Elizabethan World. Anne Boleyn is one of the most memorable and controversial wives of Henry VIII. Naturally, I want to remind myself of her life story.

Verdict: Keep

 

Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup

Goodreads – Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave, sub-title: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana, is a memoir by Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. It is a slave narrative of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery, and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, as well as describing at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

 

The release of the film inspired me to read this book. I’m firmly in the camp of books-are-better-than-the-film-adaptations, so reading it first is a must.

Verdict: Keep

 

Bad Girls from History: Wicked or Misunderstood – Dee Gordon

Goodreads – Bad Girls from History

You won’t be familiar with every one of the huge array of women featured in these pages, but all, familiar or not, leave unanswered questions behind them. The range is extensive, as was the research, with its insight into the lives and minds of women in different centuries, different countries, with diverse cultures and backgrounds, from the poverty stricken to royalty. Mistresses, murderers, smugglers, pirates, prostitutes and fanatics with hearts and souls that feature every shade of black (and grey!). From Cleopatra to Ruth Ellis, from Boudicca to Bonnie Parker, from Lady Caroline Lamb to Moll Cutpurse, from Jezebel to Ava Gardner. Less familiar names include Mary Jeffries, the Victorian brothel-keeper, Belle Starr, the American gambler and horse thief, La Voisin, the seventeenth-century Queen of all Witches in France but these are random names, to illustrate the variety of the content in store for all those interested in women who defy law and order, for whatever reason. The risqu’, the adventurous and the outrageous, the downright nasty and the downright desperate all human (female!) life is here. From the lower strata of society to the aristocracy, class is not a common denominator. Wicked? Misunderstood? Nave? Foolish? Predatory? Manipulative? Or just out of their time? Read and decide.

 

Whilst I have no doubt that the women in these pages are interesting, I don’t know. I’ve lost enthusiasm to read it. There isn’t any point forcing myself to read it when I know I don’t want to. This is the first casualty of the TBR Hole today. 

Verdict: Bin

 

How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

Goodreads – How to be A Woman

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

 

On the whole, I’m not a huge fan of women’s literature. The one notable exception I have read (part of and is subject to a re-read) is I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. To keep my attention, this “genre” needs the humour to keep me turning the pages… and something inside me says I’ll like this one.

Based on the last two books on the list, you’d think I was a feminist!

Verdict: Keep

 

After the Fire – Will Hill

Goodreads – After the Fire

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

 

If I’m 100% honest, I’m keeping this on the list as I have heard so many others rave about this book. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary novels. I started this blog to give new books a try though – so where better to start than here?

Verdict: Keep

 

Soul Identity – Dennis Batchelder

Goodreads – Soul Identity

You can’t take it with you… but what if you could? Most people believe their souls outlive their bodies. Most people would find an organization that tracks their souls into the future and passes on their banked money and memories compelling. Scott Waverly isn’t like most people. He spends his days finding and fixing computer security holes. And Scott is skeptical of his new client’s claim that they have been calculating and tracking soul identities for almost twenty-six hundred years. Are they running a freaky cult? Or a sophisticated con job? Scott needs to save Soul Identity from an insider attack. Along the way, he discovers the importance of the bridges connecting people’s lives.

 

It’s not very often I get a book recommendation from my Dad. He isn’t much of a reader, except on holiday really. If a book catches his eye, then I trust his judgement. I’m quite interested by the combination of science-fiction and crime element… it’s not a combination you see every day.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Bone Collector – Jeffrey Deaver

Goodreads – The Bone Collector

Lincoln Rhyme was once a brilliant criminologist, a genius in the field of forensics — until an accident left him physically and emotionally shattered. But now a diabolical killer is challenging Rhyme to a terrifying and ingenious duel of wits. With police detective Amelia Sachs by his side, Rhyme must follow a labyrinth of clues that reaches back to a dark chapter in New York City’s past — and reach further into the darkness of the mind of a madman who won’t stop until he has stripped life down to the bone.

 

My sister bought us a copy of this book to share/read MONTHS ago… she was going to read it first and then pass it on to me. I think either she has forgotten, or is hoping I’ve forgotten because she wants to keep it so much!

Sister dear, if you want to keep it, I’ll get my own copy.

I also had an interesting bookish conversation at work today… and I think the person I was talking to might like this as well. I’ll drop them an email on Monday! Usually, when I start talking about books, this is the kind of reaction I get:-

Verdict: Keep

 

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.

 

  1. This is a book about Auschwitz
  2. This is a book about a girl who risks her life to keep books

I’d be a fool to take this off my list! If anything, I am bumping this up further – I’d forgotten I’d added it to the list!

Verdict: Keep

 

Killing Floor – Lee Child

Goodreads – Killing Floor

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

 

My granddad read these books… or so mum tells me. Lee Child was one of his favourite authors (together with Wilbur Smith), so I want to give these books a try to see if I will like them too.

Verdict: Keep

 

I am binning one book this time – lame! Aha! Oh well, at least I know that I genuinely still want to read these books. That is the point of the exercise after all!

Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,