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Book Review: A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin

Reviewing George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is hard.

That might sound really daft. I’ve written more than my fair share of book reviews in my lifetime and I can assure you that I am, by nature, a very opinionated person. I guess what it comes down to is perspective. These books are hugely popular, and thanks to the TV series they have gained even more of a following. I doubt there is anything I can write here that you do not know about it already.

That isn’t really the point though. My blog is a place for me to explore my opinions. They may not make a shred of difference to your opinion of the books/series, (especially for such a series as this) but I have to show my appreciation somehow!

Before reading on, you can check out my reviews for A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings using these links. If you wish. Pretty please?

 

A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Storm of Swords

Here is the third volume in George R.R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. Together, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, victim of the sorceress who holds him in her thrall. Young Robb still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. And as opposing forces manoeuver for the final showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost limits of civilization, accompanied by a horde of mythical Others—a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords…

 

My Thoughts…

Some of my favourite events of the book series (so far) happen in A Storm of Swords. Weddings are less of a celebration and more of a curse. King’s Landing is reeling from the recent Battle of the Blackwater and their plans for their allegiance go… awry, to put it mildly!

In A Storm of Swords we say goodbye to two Kings in Westeros – one far more reluctantly than the other! The first time I read this book, I had a tantrum after the Red Wedding. I couldn’t pick the book up for a couple of days whilst I sulked. Turns out things weren’t QUITE as bad as you are initially led to believe. Screenrant classifies the TV episode “The Rains of Castamere”, the episode in which The Red Wedding plays out, as the “most shocking” and “peak moment” of the series. It’s clear it had a profound effect on a lot of people – not just me.

Looking north, Jon Snow is in the thick of it too. Surrounded by enemies, he is spying amongst the Wildlings to discover their secrets and then head back to the Wall. Many are mistrustful of his deflection to the Wildlings and he is treated with suspicion by many.

To the east, Daenerys is coming into her own. She is conquering the corrupt cities of Essos and fighting the losing battle of abolishing slavery. Her ambition has always been to make it to Westeros to reclaim the family throne. Her decision to stay and rule to protect the people in the east is very mature of her. It’s one of her defining moments, in my opinion.

As always, George R R Martin manages to balance the narrative and events to keep us hanging on for the next chapter. Even though there are a number of character perspectives contributing to narrating the tale (10-12), the gaps between each perspective aren’t so long that their part of the story is forgotten.

The depth of the history in his fantasy world and the number of characters (and their families) the chronicle contains is phenomenal. How George R R Martin can keep track and ensure everything is consistent baffles me.

A Song of Ice and Fire is an iconic series that I think will live up there with the greats. It’s my unrivalled favourite fantasy series and I have no doubt that shows in my review!

Have you read A Storm of Swords or watched the TV series? What do you make of the events in this book?

 

 

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Reading List – July 2019

It’s the beginning of the month, and so unsurprisingly, it’s time to publish a new reading list! I didn’t quite get finished with last month’s list, although I did read an impressive number of books! June was my best month for the number of books read in one month, but I confess in the last few days I burned out a little. I’m hoping a new month and reading list is just the refresher I need!

Shall we take a look at what books I am reading in July?

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

 

Stephen R. Donaldson, the New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, returns to the world of his Great God’s War fantasy epic as two kingdoms– united by force–prepare to be challenged by a merciless enemy…

It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace–and their marriage–has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their kingdoms to become one to defend their land, or all is lost…

 

I’m picking up where I left off with this read. It’s the only book I didn’t finish from my June TBR. Considering there were a couple of late and impulsive additions to my list, I don’t think I fared all that badly! I’m around 100 pages in, so I’ll be looking to finish this in the next few days. I’d best get reading!

 

 

Scouse Gothic – Ian McKinney

 

Melville wakes with a pounding headache – there had been too many hangovers recently, but this one felt different. What had he been drinking last night? Then he remembered – it was blood.

Enter the bizarre world of Scouse Gothic where a reluctant vampire mourns a lost love and his past lives, where a retired ‘hit man’ plans one more killing and dreams of food, and a mother sets out to avenge her son’s murder, and, meanwhile, a grieving husband is visited by an angry angel.

Set in present day Liverpool, vampires and mortals co-exist, unaware of each others’ secrets and that their past and present are inextricably linked.

But as their lives converge, who will be expected to atone for past sins?

 

I’ve signed up to the upcoming blog tour for this book and I cannot wait to pick it up! It’s a little bit different to anything I have picked up before. I’m not really one for reading books that involve vampires, angels or such supernatural things. Saying that, I’m prepared to give it a go! The plot and modern twist sound really interesting!

 

 

Birth of the Mortokai – D G Palmer

 

Daniel Welsh was born different-and to Daniel, to be different means to be alone. But what if he’s wrong? Born an albino with a photographic memory, Daniel Welsh never expected to fit in. Yet, when he is approached by Trinity-a young girl who definitely isn’t human-she reveals a whole new world where he might just belong. Ariest is a place where his features aren’t a disability or the mark of a freak, but rather a trait of powerful mages born of human-faerie unions. His father is a renowned war hero and swordsman, his mother is a human doctor, and that makes him a powerful mage that’ll tip the scales. Magic is real – and so is the threat it brings. Trinity and her father, a battle mage, aren’t the only ones to have discovered Daniel and his gifts hidden in the human realm. The Shade have awakened. Enemies to the fae realm long thought dead have been lying in wait for their moment to strike. Young mages like Daniel are the perfect morsel for their starving appetites and they start their killing spree without delay with the nearest unsuspecting mage boy. Daniel cannot sit idly by while monsters take innocent lives, so he will embrace a destiny he is only just beginning to understand… even if it means losing a life that’s finally worth living. Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult coming of age fantasy adventure novel. Trigger warning: this novel contains descriptions of albinism, a real genetic disorder that affects 1/17,000 persons worldwide per year.

 

Birth of the Mortokai is another blog tour I have signed up for. It features a character from a minority group, a person with Albinism. From the synopsis, I get the impression that draws characters out of a judgemental and unkind society and celebrates their differences. This is a fantasy book with an element of magic, my favourite genre. For these things alone, I can’t wait to see if my first impressions are correct.

 

 

Kau d’Varza – David Noe

 

Even in the vastness of space, trouble finds a way.

When Elise Rivera arrived on Kau D’varza, a distant station near an anomaly known as the Void Cloud, she’d hoped to escape the troubles of her homeworld. Now, the appearance of a mysterious freighter places her new home under threat; a threat that Elise – along with station commissioner Gierre Nevos, his aide Specialist Kaska Stone, and a team led by Commander-Captain Joseph Raffa – must race against time to avert.

 

I am always looking to squeeze more science fiction into my reading schedule, so I was delighted to receive a request from David Noe to read his latest book. Keen-eyed readers may remember that I reviewed a book he co-authored when I first started my blog – Seeker. Since Seeker was such a hit with me, it makes sense to read Kau d’Varza, which is also set in the same Chaosnova Universe.

 

 

Thran Book 1: The Birth – Brian MacLaughlin

 

Set in the mythical world of Thran, a young warrior named Brutal Mixnor sets out on an adventure to uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious disappearance after a battle years earlier. Some longtime friends and new acquaintances join him in his search, each with their own reasons for braving the danger-filled wilds of the Cruel Pass. Follow the young adventurers and watch as their powers grow, along with the strength of the enemies they encounter. Discover the complex, imperfect, characters of all races, comprising the full spectrum of alignments (good, neutral, and evil) that weave their way into and out of the story, leaving their mark on the reader as the world of Thran is pushed towards cataclysmic war and suffering. For readers familiar with the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons(R), Thran Book I: The Birth will feel like a warm wave of nostalgia washing over you, and the unfamiliar will get a glimpse of what it’s like to be immersed into the heart of an adventure that transports you into a world where magic abounds and almost anything is possible, but nothing is certain. Visit https: //www.worldofthran.com/ to learn more about the world of Thran, including: character portraits, the world map, the pantheon of deities, and more!

 

I picked up a copy of this fantasy novel via Voracious Readers Only. I’m always interested in trying a new fantasy novel or series. I am really intrigued by the synopsis. It has all the components of epic fantasy: a quest, magic and conflict!

Can’t wait to see how it pans out!

 

 

A Dance with Dragons: Part 1 – George R. R. Martin

 

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance—beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone—a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

 

I am reading a lot of ARC’s this month. To balance it out, I am going to pick up A Dance with Dragons in between books. My goal is to finish it by the end of the month. I’m only aiming to read part 1 for the moment – it’s an epic in itself! If I get way ahead of myself then maybe I’ll live dangerously and strive for part 2 as well.

We’ll see.

What books are you reading this month?

 

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 9th June 2019

If this week’s Sunday Summary post is going to be anything like my week, it’s going to be a busy one!! Mad in fact, but it’s been fun! This weekly summary post makes my fifth this week. Fifth!!!!!

Thankfully I had the foresight to prepare Wednesday’s Time of Lies extract post last Saturday ahead of time… otherwise I may have been in trouble. I have never published so many posts in one week in the history of this blog; it’s not a schedule I have any hope of maintaining. I hope you have enjoyed it this week because I’m not planning on such a busy schedule again. For now, anyway.

This was the first full week of a brand new month. Naturally, June’s TBR was finalised and published on Monday! As it happens, I think I’ll be adding a couple of books to it. I’ve made a lot more reading progress than I anticipated and I have already started reading one book on the side.

I’ve already mentioned Wednesday’s Time of Lies tour; on Friday I published my review of one of last month’s reads, The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. The Drawing of the Three has a totally different vibe to The Gunslinger. Where book one establishes Roland, his history and quest, book two is driven by characters drawn out of modern-day New York into Roland’s world to battle their own demons before facing an even greater challenge.

If anyone has checked out my blog today, you’ll see I’m currently touring Game of Crones by Jay Raven. The book is a collection of dark fantasy short stories surrounding the themes of witchcraft and dark magic. If you haven’t already taken a peak of my thoughts on the book, you can check out the link above!

 

Books Read

Not only have I been writing a lot this week, but I’ve also managed to read a few books too! Okay, half of them are short stories… but still!

I began the week continuing with A Feast for Crows, my carryover from last month. I expected to have a lot more catching up to do than I actually did with this one. Still, I was reading this for a few days before I had to set it aside (temporarily).

All too aware of my upcoming blog tour dates, I picked up Game of Crones by Jay Raven and The Lynmouth Stories by L. V. Hay. Game of Crones was reasonably short, so I read practically the whole book in one sitting. The Lynmouth Stories turned out to be a LOT shorter than anticipated. I managed to read this cover to cover in about half an hour.

After finishing these two short story collections I was back to A Feast for Crows. I’ve been reading this for about two weeks (although it feels longer since I am used to reading books quite quickly). Consequently, I’m pleased to report that I finally finished this yesterday. I am so glad I elected to re-read the books!

After wrapping this up I swiftly moved on to my two current reads, Biohacked and Begging by Stephen Oram and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. Biohacked and Begging is another collection of short stories, all with themes of individuals with some form of enhancement or another. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time isn’t strictly on my TBR, but since I have made such good progress with my TBR, I asked myself “why the heck not?” I’ve been meaning to read it for some time now…

 

Books Discovered

If I’ve not bored you to death with all my wittering so far then read on. As if I didn’t have enough to talk about this week, I also have a few honorary mentions here too!

I’ve added three books to the TBR this week – The Whisper Man by Alex North, Back to Reality by Mark Stay and The Thinking Game by Lara Kane.

The Whisper Man is a thriller with a really exciting premise and very good reviews on Goodreads. I can’t wait to pick this up! I saw Back to Reality on Reedsy, and after reading The End of Magic by Mark Stay I’m definitely going to give this a try. Likewise, Reedsy is also responsible for me adding The Thinking Game to the list. If someone can help me manage my time better and improve the way I handle myself, then they deserve a medal. This will be really helpful for managing my time at work AND her e on the blog. Reading it will also go towards my goal of reading five non-fiction books this year…

 

Coming Up…

What’s coming up this week? That’s easy… less. A lot less. Haha!

I’m taking a few days to read and recuperate. My first post of the week is for a blog tour on Wednesday. That’s my tour date for reviewing The Lynmouth Stories, so I hope you can call in and check out my thoughts on these great short stories!

Depending on how my week pans out, my next post will be on Friday (Saturday at the latest). I haven’t made any moves to clear out the TBR in a few weeks, so I’ll be reviewing the next five books on my list and deciding whether they need to stay or go!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Lastly, friends, in my Sunday Summary posts I like to try to recognise some great blog posts I’ve stumbled across by other bloggers. Here is this week’s list of blog posts I really enjoyed reading: –

The Orangutan Librarian – Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – June

Reader Fox – Book Blogger Tips Topics for the Future (ARCs, Followers, etc.) – Reader Fox

Wee Writing Lassie – The Top Ten Best Greek Gods out there + The Worst One

 

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Reading List – June 2019

It’s time for me to post June’s reading list… since June has come around the corner already!! Where is this year going?

I fared a lot better with May’s reading list than I anticipated. It’s rare that I get through anything near six books in a month. I would have been happy if I’d read my average of five and to have started the sixth, A Feat for Crows. Turns out, I’ve managed to read nearly 70% of that as well! I’ve far exceeded my expectations! So, I think I am going to push myself a little more this month too. Why not? I relish a challenge.

I have a few books I have been sent for review, as well as blog tours this month and one very early next month. As a result, I’m going to be picking up quite a few ARCS. I also have a copy of a book I’ve requested from Netgalley – try not to faint. I’ve decided to give it another go, but be more selective about what I download and pull my finger out when it comes to reading them.

So, let’s take a look at the books I am planning on reading in June.

 

A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

 

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

 

This one is pretty self-explanatory – I am looking to get this one finished since I am most of the way through the book. With tours coming up in the next week or so for other books, A Feast for Crows is being relegated to the sidelines a little bit. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing as I have been reading this for days. A change is as good as a rest – that’s an expression, right?

 

Game of Crones – Jay Raven

 

Forget Happily Ever After – the most delicious fairy tales end in darkness and despair…
Welcome to a mystical age of cruelty, hexes and treachery, where malicious magic rules and you are but a single necromancer’s spell away from eternal terror.

From malevolent medieval magicians to Wild West witches, this spellbinding volume by a master of the macabre is packed with frightening fables guaranteed to send a supernatural chill down your spine.

If you’re thrilled by exciting dark fantasy tales, with cunning twists, edge-of -the seat tension and unexpected shivers, you’ll love Game of Crones. Pick it up today. If you dare…

 

I’m not generally in the habit of reading many short stories, which is a bit daft really! I should! They’re a great opportunity to have a short break away from a lengthier narrative. I also dabble a little in entering short story competitions, so it makes sense to read them and see what works! It will only improve my own writing (with any luck…)

I’m taking part in the upcoming blog tour for this collection. As this is the most imminent tour, I’ll be prioritising this read first. I expect I’ll have these read in a day or two in anticipation for my post at the end of the week!

 

The Lynmouth Stories – L. V. Hay

 

Beautiful places hide dark secrets …

Devon’s very own crime writer L.V Hay (The Other Twin, Do No Harm) brings forth three new short stories from her dark mind and poison pen:

– For kidnapped Meg and her young son Danny, In Plain Sight, the remote headland above Lynmouth is not a haven, but hell.

– A summer of fun for Catherine in Killing Me Softly becomes a winter of discontent … and death.

– In Hell And High Water, a last minute holiday for Naomi and baby Tommy  becomes a survival situation … But that’s before the village floods.

All taking place out of season when the majority of tourists have gone home, L.V Hay uses her local knowledge to bring forth dark and claustrophic noir she has come to be known for.

 

Here is another short story collection I am reading this month for a blog tour! This is fast approaching next week, so I’ll be getting my skates on to get these read as well! Each of my short story collections is of different genres, with this one being a crime. It’s a genre I read quite a lot of, so I am fairly sure I won’t be long in devouring these at all!

 

Biohacked and Begging – Stephen Oram

 

The future is ours and it’s up for grabs…

Immerse yourself in the future of biohacking and implants, genetic modification, blockchain micro-transactions and futuristic dating-apps with author of ‘Eating Robots’, Stephen Oram.

Prodding and poking the possible in volume 2 of Nudge the Future, Oram starts with another flash fiction foray into the world of Unified Sentience and ends with virtual reality for babies and biohacked fish.

With sharpness and wit, these sci-fi shorts will grab your imagination and refuse to let go.

 

And another collection of short stories I am looking to read this month. This is my Netgalley request! I’ve decided I really ought to give Netgalley another chance. I certainly won’t be the kind of person that reads anything and everything on there because it’s not my favourite site, but if I’m selective then I don’t see why we can’t come to a mutual understanding with each other.

 

The appeal for this book is the genre. I am endeavouring to read more science fiction, and I figured this book ticks two boxes in that respect. I get to explore the genre as well as read more short stories. This way, I’m not diving in too deep if I don’t like this particular branch as well. Win-win!

 

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

 

Stephen R. Donaldson, the New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, returns to the world of his Great God’s War fantasy epic as two kingdoms– united by force–prepare to be challenged by a merciless enemy…

It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace–and their marriage–has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their kingdoms to become one to defend their land, or all is lost…

 

I have very kindly been sent a copy of The War Within for review by Gollancz. In preparation, I read the first book of the series, Seventh Decimate, last month. Since I am reading a few different things and branching out, it seems only fair that I stick to my roots for at least one book! This is one of my lengthier reads of the month… well, as far as I can gauge from the thickness of the book anyway! It’s a hardback too, so it’s going to be a hefty weight to be carrying around with me whilst I read it.

And for the record, no! Leaving it at home is just NOT an option haha!

 

Three – K. J. McGillick

 

Betrayal. Deceit. Danger. Murder.

How would you feel if you discovered your death was planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why.  Would you feel anger or fear or hopelessness knowing your fate.  All you could do was wait. Tick Tock.

One early spring morning, Emma Collier, an art history professor awakens to find her lover gone. Vanished. In a desperate attempt to locate him, she is stunned to discover that he is not an art dealer at all. But he is part of a powerful organization dealing in international money laundering, forged art, and human trafficking.

Implicated as a willing participant in his malevolent world, she struggles to clear her name. But when her body double is found brutally murdered she knows she is marked for death. As her life is ripped apart she must formulate a plan to stay alive. Now with the help of Agent Cillian O’Reilly, of the FBI Arts Crime Team, they pursue a trail that snakes across three continents and leads her to a  plan for mass murder. Will she survive?

 

I’ve taken a real liking to K. J. McGillick’s books. I was introduced to her as an author via a couple of other blog tours organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have loved every book of hers so far, so when the opportunity came up to read this thriller, it was an immediate yes from me! The tour for this book is towards the end of the month, so I plenty of time to kick back and relax with this beaut to hand.

 

 

Storms over Babylon – Jennifer Macaire

 

After winning a prestigious award, Ashley is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. What follows, after she awakes under a pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death, and ever so so much more.

 

Avid readers of my blog will know that I have read a number of books in Jennifer Macaire’s The Road to Alexander series now. This month is no exception, as I am reviewing Storms over Babylon at the very beginning of next month. I’ve really enjoyed this historical fiction series thus far. Alexander the Great is a historical figure I’m not all that familiar with (until now at least). I can’t wait to see what happens as Ashley and Alexander hurtle toward Alexander’s apparently unavoidable fate!

So, there you have it! These are my planned reads of the month! The question is, what are you reading? Have you read any of the books above? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd June 2019

Today has been a lovely conclusion to the week. Locally, we have been having some pretty miserable weather, but not today! It’s been wreaking havoc because it’s been affecting some local events we have on lately.

Any fans of motorsport may have heard of the TT? For those that haven’t, it’s an annual motorsport event hosted here on the Island. Riders on a variety of bikes test their mettle on the famous mountain course. For 48 weeks of the year, the course is just public roads. With bad weather and poor visibility, there has been a lot of uncertainty about practices and qualifying. Trying to get home before the roads shut has also been… fun. I’ll stick with fun.

Anyway, enough about that! What else have I been up to aside from dodging motorbikes left, right and centre? I finally got my Top Ten Tuesday post, originally scheduled for last week, live! I’ve been on a bit of a Game of Thrones bender lately. If you want to find out who my favourite characters are (based on the books and TV series) you could take a look at that post. Pretty please? On Friday I divulged my love for another fantasy series I have read recently in my review of The Watcher of Dead Time by Edward Cox. It was also lovely to get a thank you and a share from the author for my review.

 

Books Read

 

I have been on a mission with reading A Feast for Crows. Last week I set myself the challenge of getting to 60% through the book by the end of the month. I did it! If you look at the Goodreads count it only comes up to about 54%. That includes all the appendices though, and who reads them cover to cover? Not me anyway. Excluding those, my total percentage read came to 65% by Friday. I’m now at around 71%, and I haven’t contributed to that today at all.

I had wanted to finish my audiobook of The Painted Man this week, but with the TT being on, it’s more important that I listen to the radio for road closures, accidents etc. The roads are only supposed to be a track when they’re shut, but visitors and locals have a habit of going mad this fortnight!

 

Books Discovered

 

Whilst I was writing my review for The Watcher of Dead Time, I decided to look into further works of Edward Cox, past and future. I found The Song of the Sycamore, which is due to be published in a couple of months. I really love the sound of it! I’ve also decided that based on The Relic Guild trilogy, Edward Cox is on my auto-buy list of authors. I cannot wait for this to come out!

Middlegame is a book I discovered via an email from Tor. I love the element of Fantasy elements in it, but I think the strongest appeal is that Roger and Dodger kinda remind me of myself and my sister. I’m more like Roger with my wordy and literate nature, whilst my sister is very Mathsy. She’s a Maths graduate and trainee actuary if that tells you anything.

On Friday I received a lovely message from David Noe, co-author of Seeker. I reviewed Seeker, a book he co-authored in December 2017 (those early days! As a result, he invited me to read and review a new book of his being published imminently. It’s a book set in the same universe, called Kau D’Varza. I really enjoyed Seeker and I cannot wait to explore the new novel.

Lastly, I received an email for an invite to read Thran Book 1: The Birth by Brian McLaughlin. Again a fantasy novel, I really like the sense of adventure alluded to and the depth of characters! It was also recommended to fans of Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones… so, yeah. I think I’ll enjoy it!

 

Coming Up…

I’m going to be kicking off the week with this month’s new reading list! OMG, it’s June already. Hasn’t that come around so fast?

Midweek, I’m taking part in a bit of a topical blog tour! I’m sure for the next few days we’ll be hearing all about President Trump’s visit to the UK. Along those lines, I’m sharing an extract of Douglas Board’s Time of Lies, a political satire novel based on the idea that the UK elects its own version of Trump!

I’m hoping to keep working through some reviews I have outstanding, so this week I’ll be reviewing a recent read, Stephen King’s The Drawing of the Three. I hope you can take a few minutes out of your day to check that out!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Jack’s Bedtime Reading – Book Review: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

Not Another Book Blogger – My Week In Books (27th May)

Abigail’s Books – WWW Wednesday

Ramblings of a Neurotic Writer – How To Find Inspiration For Blog Posts

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – A Game of Thrones Characters

Now that the finale of A Game of Thrones has come and gone, I thought it the perfect opportunity to talk about my favourite characters of the series! There are a lot of mixed reviews about that last episode and I’m not surprised. I have no problem with the ending, but I feel there could have been a little more drama or tension in between. Nevertheless, it’s a fantastic series and for us book-lovers, it isn’t truly over yet!

I’ll be taking the books and the TV show into account for this list, (spoiler-free) since up until A Dance of Dragons, they are close to one another. I’ll also be ranking my characters from number ten to one… so here we go!

 

10.   Tormund Giantsbane

Source: HBO

Tormund Giantsbane… he’s not so much a friendly giant if you cross him. He is formidable to his enemies and fierce friends with those that see past the furs and wildling exterior. He’s a bit of a drunkard and apt to boasting, but if you can beat anyone who says otherwise into the dirt then why not?

We get to see an intimate friendship between Tormund and Jon. It’s the kind of friendship I think we all look for.

 

 

9.   Brienne of Tarth

Source: HBO

I really love Brienne for her loyalty and her confidence to follow an unconventional path in life. Brienne is one of the few female warriors of the series, and she is frequently bullied for her choice. That, and her appearance. I guess I relate to her in a way because I have been in her shoes – not a sword-wielding knight, obviously, but I’ve been bullied for my appearance too. In my teenage years, I opted for similarly short hair (as Brienne in the TV series). I couldn’t tell you how many unpleasant comments and assumptions were made about me. I didn’t care all that much – I kept it for five years before I decided to grow it back.

If there is one thing I would like to have in common with Brienne more than anything, it’s the drive to do whatever you want regardless of other people’s approval. It’s too easy to fall victim to peer pressure. I think if we were all a little more like Brienne, the world would be a better place.

 

8.   Littlefinger

Source: HBO

Littlefinger’s cunning and intelligence win him a place on my top ten list. An advanced player in the political scene, Littlefinger came from pretty much nothing. He’s a self-made man… but not necessarily the type you want to be if you plan on making any friends in life.

Not all his personality traits are admirable by any means, but becoming the Master of Coin proves he has some skill. Deception and manipulation are never far around the corner where Littlefinger is concerned, but these don’t fail to stir up relations and events throughout the series!

 

7.   Samwell Tarly

Source: HBO

Sam is just so cute! He’s scorned by his father and forced into a life that without the help of his friends, he’d have no hope of surviving. Thankfully he is the type of person you cannot help but like. Before joining the Night’s Watch, he enjoyed singing, dancing and burying his nose in books… much to his father’s distaste. I don’t profess to be any good when it comes to the singing and the dancing (alcohol is required for the latter), but a serious love of books and studying is something we share in common.

Sam is a bit of a softy and socially awkward, but he is also very intelligent. He’s the type of man I’d like to meet really.

 

6.   Olenna Tyrell

Source: HBO

Perhaps there aren’t as many sword fighting women in A Game of Thrones, but plenty have other weapons of choice. Olenna is a wiser and more experienced player of the great game. She won’t have any trouble land on her doorstep, that’s for sure. With a look that could wither anyone less adept at dreading the murky waters of politics, she is a force to be reckoned with!

I love her ferocity in defending her own too! Nothing means more to Olenna Tyrell than looking out for her family, her granddaughter Margaery especially. In what is probably one of my favourite scenes ever, we find out what happens to those that threaten Highgarden’s little flower!

 

5.   Cersei Lannister

Source: HBO

Cersei Lannister is a character that we love to hate, wouldn’t you agree?! It’s easy to point out all her murderous, incestuous flaws, but the one thing we cannot discredit her for is her fierce love for her children. She is, above all, a mother.

Cersei’ s roots in one of the most powerful families make her a formidable foe. Being the Queen definitely has its perks. Being in the spotlight also has its dangers too; it can win you many enemies. Cersei is no stranger to this and uses everything she has about her in order to stay on top. Treading on a few toes to do so is child’s play, let’s put it that way!

 

4.   Jon Snow

Source: HBO

Jon is a Bastard by name, if not so much by his nature.

He has spent his life on the back-foot, all-too-aware that he doesn’t fit in. He has grown up believing that he embodies all that is wrong in a family, which I think is one of the reasons he is driven to always do the right thing. Jon will even sacrifice himself for the greater good – somewhat noble, but I wish he would have some self-worth. That said, however, I think we all love Jon’s almost constant state of brooding. Jon is inarguably one of the kinder, more honourable men in Westeros, but as Ned Stark learned very early on, that doesn’t always serve you well.

 

3.   Daenerys Targaryen

Source: HBO

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, The rightful Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Queen of Dragonstone, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. So many titles… all of them are applicable.

Dany is probably one of the better character arcs we follow throughout the series. We get to watch her blossom from a meek child into a strong, commanding, dragon-taming woman.

I wouldn’t want to cross her, just saying…

 

2.   Arya Stark

Source: HBO

Here is another lady I wouldn’t cross. Arya transforms from a young, wilful girl struggling to master the etiquette required to become a lady into a woman that re-writes the rules, her way. Arya isn’t one to be told what she can or cannot do – if she sets her mind to it, it’s as good as done.

In the beginning, Arya’s survival was a bit of potluck. She is lucky to fall into the hands of friends in the immediate aftermath of her world being turned upside down. Her fortune doesn’t last, however. She quickly learns how to defend herself after being thrust out into the wide world alone. It’s a learning curve that really defines her character. She is my second favourite character of the series. At one point reading the books I thought she had been killed. I had a tantrum for days and refused to read on, sulking. It was unfounded, but still.

 

1.   Tyrion Lannister

Source: HBO

Finally, we get to my favourite character in the series! A Lannister, I hear you gasp! Yes, you’re reading this right.

I’ve always enjoyed Tyrion’s wit and dry humour. There are so many great quotes in the books that are from this character’s lips. Aside from Arya, he is the only character I wanted to make it through the coming turmoil. As long as he lives, I’m happy.

Tyrion is very intelligent but massively underappreciated. The vitriol and scorn he experiences as a result of his deformity have instilled in him a strength that few characters can match. He is also a great lover of books, which always gets you brownie points with me.

 

So there you have it – my top ten characters of the series! What do you think? Do you agree with me? Who is your favourite character, and why?

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 26th May 2019

Nothing beats writing a Sunday Summary post at the end of the week, but not the end of the weekend! Who else has the day off tomorrow?

My parents are working tomorrow, so I have a few plans of my own. Aside from doing the usual domestic things, I don’t plan to be without a book in hand for too long!

 

I’d like to apologise for not posting on Tuesday as promised. I found choosing my Top Ten characters of the A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) series a lot harder than I expected. Once I had picked my top ten I started writing brief commentaries on each. By 10:30pm on the Tuesday local time, I’d only written up satisfactory commentaries for half of the characters. At that point, I decided I wasn’t going to get the post ready for publishing to the standard I would like that night. Therefore, I decided to postpone it. When it does go live, I hope it doesn’t disappoint. I think I made the right decision in the end, and I hope you can understand.

I did manage to publish my review of Mythos by Stephen Fry on schedule. My interest in Greek Mythology stemmed from reading The Road to Alexander back in January, which features the story of Persephone and Hades. Mythos is my first non-fiction read of the year and I aim to read another four by the end of December. It’s not a huge number, I know, but we all have to start somewhere right?

 

Books Read

After last week’s Sunday Summary post, I promptly finished Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I really love this historical fiction series! The characters (Uhtred in particular) are fantastic and the narrative is easy to get lost in. I had less than 20% left so finishing this last weekend was quite easy.

I’ve spent most of the week reading Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean. I was kindly sent a copy of this to review by Gollancz. YA isn’t a typical genre for me, although I do like to sample it from time to time. I’m glad I requested this book. It gave me insight into a completely different culture and the fantasy element of the tale was really enjoyable to read! I look forward to writing my full review!

With Empress of all Seasons concluded, the rest of this month is dedicated to A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin. When I set my reading list for the month I said I’d be happy if I got around to starting the book. To be nearly 20% through the book with five days of May left is an incredible achievement! Reckon I can get to 60% by the end of the month? That sounds like a challenge to me!

I have also been listening to The Painted Man in the car on the way home from work. I’ll be popping out and about in the car tomorrow, so you can be sure I’ll be chipping into it some more. I have three and a half hours of the story left, so my second challenge is to finish this by the time I publish next week’s Sunday Summary post.

 

Books Discovered

 

Payday has rolled around once again (thank goodness)! This month I was determined to complete my paperback collection of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I was fortunate that my store was stocking each of the books I needed to complete my collection. I have some plans to jazz up my shelves with some GoT related decor, but for now, here they are in all their glory!

 

Coming Up…

 

With half the post already completed, I have absolutely no excuses to disappoint you this week. This week I will be posting my Top Ten A Game of Thrones characters – honest!

As with this week, I plan to share a book review for you later in the week. This time, I’ll be reviewing the final book in The Relic Guild trilogy, The Watcher of Dead Time by Edward Cox. This is another series kindly provided to me by Gollancz that I’ve really enjoyed. I hope you can check in for that post later in the week. If you want to check out my reviews of the earlier books in the trilogy, I’ll be providing links to those too!

 

Top Blog Posts of The Week

A Frolic Through Fiction – Thank you!!

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 19th May 2019

It’s time for another Sunday Summary post again… already! It barely feels like I finish one weekly wrap-up post before I am starting the next one, seriously. It’s great though! Writing and sharing my progress/thoughts on something I love is a total pleasure. It’s not something that everyone understands, but that’s okay! That’s precisely why I reach out to an awesome community like you! Knowing that even a handful of people take the time to read what I have to say is really humbling.

Whilst a lot of this weekend (okay, yesterday) has been dedicated to playing Minecraft, I have managed a good amount of reading throughout the week! The end of last week/beginning of the week was a busy one! After I concluded last week’s Sunday Summary post, I jumped immediately into finishing drafting my Blog Tour post for Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire. After a few days breather on the blog post front, I committed myself to another Throwback Thursday review of The Rag Nymph by Catherine Cookson. I particularly enjoy those posts as it gives me the chance to review the books that I read even before starting my blog over two years ago now.

 

Books Read

I’m pleased with the amount of reading I have done this week. Even taking out a good few hours yesterday to scratch my Minecraft itch, I managed to get plenty done!

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was halfway through my current read, Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. I have kindly been sent the second book of The Great God’s War series, so I wanted to pick up the first book before I get stuck into that. I can guarantee reading the second book will not be as speedy as the first, on account of it being almost twice as long! Seventh Decimate only took three days in all though, so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge!

Immediately after concluding Seventh Decimate, I picked up one of my current reads, Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I’m 83% through the book as of now, with about an hour left of reading time required to finish it. Sounds like a challenge to me! I totally love this series so far. I first watched the BBC series when it aired in 2015, although I hadn’t realised it was based on a book series until later. After I started a new job, a Danish colleague of mine, also a fan, loaned the first book to me. I read and returned it within a week. That’s how much I loved it! I’ve been hooked since. I’m a little miffed that the series has been relegated to Netflix.

I confess that I have also dipped into a book I was intending to save until last. I’m confident in my current reading progress though, so I don’t think it’s an issue. I am too excited for the last episode of A Game of Thrones. Of course, once this is published I am going to have to go on an internet ban until I can watch it tomorrow night. I can’t wait to see how it ends; equally, I don’t want it to end and I’m nervous about how satisfied I’ll be about the ending. It’s not really the end though, as we still have the books to look forward to! I’ll have to content myself with reading A Feast for Crows, won’t I?

On the audiobook front, I have also been trundling through The Painted Man by Peter Brett. It’s definitely picked up since the beginning and I am really intrigued to see where the tale is going. I usually listen to it in the car commuting to and from work. This is going to be cut back as I have just started giving a colleague a lift to work in the morning, but I don’t think I’ll suffer too much as a result. I’ll have to start listening to it as I am getting ready in the morning instead.

 

Books Discovered

 

I have behaved this week – no additions or purchases!

Friday this week is payday though… and I feel a purchase or two coming on!

 

Coming Up…

 

Tomorrow night… I have plans. Plain and simple! Nothing is coming between me and the last episode of A Game of Thrones, that’s for sure! I’m also due to be out on Thursday evening for a catch up with friends. Therefore, I think I’ll be going back to posting on Tuesday and Friday for this week.

Since it’s been about a month since my last post of this kind, I’d quite like to post a Top Ten Tuesday list. I don’t always pick the subject matter at the time. However, given that it’s the final of A Game of Thrones, I feel like writing a topical post. I’ve already written a Quintessential Quotes post in this vein, so I am going to talk about my Top Ten characters of the series!

On Friday I am going to write my review of a book I borrowed from the library and read back in February this year. Mythos by Stephen Fry, as you may well guess from the title, is a history and re-telling of various tales within Greek Mythology. It was my first venture into non-fiction for the year and to be honest, I am overdue to read another one. I set myself the challenge of reading five this year, so I’m behind on that front. I picked up the book after reading The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire, as that book touches on Greek Mythology. It piqued my interest and I’m glad I went the extra step.

 

Top Ten Blog Posts of the Week

 

The Library Looter – Six for Sunday 19.05.2019

A Book. A Thought. – Down the TBR Hole

The Cat with A Book – Book Review: The Book Thief

 

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Book Review Banner

Book Review: A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

At a time when A Game of Thrones is a hot topic, I really want to keep the fervour going because it is SO WELL DESERVED! As some of you may know, I have been re-reading the books since around December last year. My reading schedule meant that I couldn’t fit the whole series in before the TV show, but never mind! It doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of it at all! Are you reading the books or watching the last season?

Today, I’m reviewing my recent re-read of A Clash of Kings.

 

A Clash of Kings

Goodreads – A Clash of Kings

A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

Here is the second volume in George R.R. Martin magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R.R. Martin stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

 

My Thoughts…

Where book one of the Song of Ice and Fire series sets the scene for a long haul conflict that spans the remainder of the series, A Clash of Kings is the true beginning of the conflict. A Clash of Kings introduces a number of new characters (and dragons) to the game, including new chapters from the perspectives of Davos and Theon. The growing war over the true heir to the Iron Throne drives great change into the lives of many. Every character has a unique storyline.

It isn’t something I noticed until I went back to the beginning, but the complexity and sophistication of the character relationships and narrative develops gradually throughout the books. It was only making the jump back from A Dance with Dragons to the beginning again that I noticed how simple things were in the early days… by comparison anyway.

Even though the complexity increases, never have I found each character arc difficult to follow. Each character perspective is re-visited frequently enough that we don’t forget where they are and what they are up to. Geographically, the narrative is far more diverse than A Game of Thrones. However, as we are building on a sturdy foundation of geography, history and lore already established, the progression feels natural, not confusing.

I can talk about the love of my series all I like; in the grand scheme of things, my review is unlikely to make a difference about whether someone picks up the series or not. Arguably the TV series has been the greatest influence on book sales, with 8 million copies of A Game of Thrones being sold following the airing of the first season (source: Forbes). It’s a topic that a lot of people are talking about right now, and as a lover of the books and the TV show, jointly and severally, I am proud to be a part of the community.

 

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Reading List – May 2019

We are just over a third of the way through the year – isn’t that a scary thought?! Yes, it’s time to publish another reading list; I have lots of plans this month. My recent time off has got me kind of excited and slightly ambitious about this TBR. I have lots of books that I want to pick up now and in order to achieve my goal, I’m thinking of experimenting a little more with reading more than one book at once. This worked really well for me recently, so why wouldn’t it in the long term?

I’m also excited to be picking up more books that aren’t part of blog tours. I am only taking part in one tour this month (in stark contrast to the four I did last month). It affords me more freedom to choose books I have wanted to pick up for some time! I fully expect my last book of the list is going to appear on next month’s list too – it’s an epic in its own right.

 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

 

“Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction….This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred’s adventures.” -USA Today

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children-and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex…with Uhtred’s help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning side of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred-Alfred’s sharpest sword-must now make the choice that will determine England’s future.

 

I’ve recently watched Season 3 of the TV adaptation, The Last Kingdom, and it has re-ignited my love for the story! I last picked up the series nearly two years ago now – June 2017. That’s far too long! I had barely started my blog at that point.

 

Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire

 

Can you face the consequences of cheating the Fates? Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery. With their son, Paul, being worshiped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?

 

This read is my one and only blog tour of the month. I have read the first two books in the series already, The Road to Alexander and Legends of Persia already. I’m really enjoying the series so far; I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that I know very little of the time period itself. Whilst it’s great to visit favourites (Tudor History, for example), it’s also refreshing to try something new. This is a gamble that really paid off on this occasion!

 

Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson

 

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning. These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.

But a seventh Decimate exists–the most devastating one of all…

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.

Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate–and reverse the fate of his land.

All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains–and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn…

 

I have plans to read a book that Gollancz have sent to me for review next month, called The God Within. That book is the second instalment of a series. You can probably guess where this is leading… There is no way I’ll be able to pick that up knowing that I haven’t read the first book –so here it is! A bit of pre-reading, shall we say…

 

The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King

 

This second volume in the epic series ‘The Dark Tower’ both stands alone and continues the adventures of Roland of Gilead. He has mysteriously stepped through the doorway in time to 1980s America, where he meets Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes.

 

I have started reading this book already! I finished April’s TBR at the 11th hour (almost precisely) yesterday and decided that I wanted to get stuck in with May’s list. This is my first victim ahem book of choice for the month! It’s been too long since reading the first book really; I need to pick these up sooner!

 

The Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

 

In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

 

Here is another read sent to me by Gollancz for review. I haven’t really read all that much fantasy aimed at a YA audience lately, so I am looking forward to seeing how I like this book. I think the plotline is really interesting – it’s what has enticed me to read it the most!

 

A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

 

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

 

There is absolutely no way I am going to get all the above books read in one month, but if I can read the rest and at least make a START on this one, I’ll be happy! Naturally, A Game of Thrones is hot-topic at the moment with the final series already halfway through (and wasn’t that last episode epic?!) Now more than ever I am keen to pick up the books and continue to enjoy the experience.

 

What are you reading?

 

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