Tag: A Song of Ice and Fire

Shelf Control #79 – 19/07/2024

Whereas most Shelf Control posts feature me waxing lyrical about being excited to pick up an available read on my TBR, this post is different. I would literally shove my whole TBR aside to pick this up next book. There’s just one problem – it’s not published yet!

As always, I share a reminder of what the Shelf Control feature is all about before we get stuck in.

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up.

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.


The Winds of Winter – George R.R. Martin

Genre: Epic fantasy

Pages: TBA

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: TBC


Goodreads – The Winds of Winter


My Thoughts

George R.R. Martin and the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I love unconditionally. I’ll read the series again and again. To date, I’ve already read the first book four times, the second book three times and the rest of the series twice. It’s also one of the only series I own physical, digital ebook and audiobooks of. I’ve also shared content including my favourite quotes from the series. 

Fair to say I’m a bit obsessed?

I’m unapologetic too. In the time it will take for the series to be finished (and I refuse to think this won’t happen, okay?), I’ll have re-read it once or twice more. At least they’re not short books, so each re-read will take a while!

I’m looking forward to this next instalment, however long it takes. I’d rather it be done right than rushed. I’m especially interested to see how The Winds of Winter compares with the TV series and whether there is any material difference.

I’ll just have to wait to find out…

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Sunday Summary – 1st October 2023

Good evening readers and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update. As always, I hope you’ve had a great week, however you’ve spent it?

It’s been a very busy one here, and that reflects my reading progress, which I’ll touch on later. As a brief recap of what’s been going on outside of my reading and blogging life, I spent a couple of evenings baking for a MacMillan coffee morning held at work. That event was really successful and definitely worth the hours in the kitchen… all five or six of them! As well, I was out with friends on Thursday evening, and hosting family on Saturday. I’ve had an unusual number of plans this week!

Around that, I squeezed in a book tag post on Wednesday. In that post, I touched upon my firsts of 2023. Coming up to the three-quarter mark in the year, it was nice to go back and recap some of my milestones of the year.

On Friday, it was the turn of the next instalment in my Shelf Control series. This weeks feature was a young adult novel by one of my favourite authors of all time!

 

Books Read

 

A Storm of Swords

Last week, I shared with you how my reading progress was down, and that I thought that was partly down to a lack of urgency as I was re-reading a book. That’s definitely the case this week again, although it has been compounded by the additional plans and obligations I’ve had!

In all, I’ve only read a couple more chapters of A Storm of Swords this week. Progress isn’t going great, and so yesterday I made the decision to pick up a book I haven’t read yet in the hopes that it would spur me back into reading. I’ll try reading the two books in tandem, but if necessary, I’ll make a call next week as to whether I set aside A Storm of Swords. It’s not like I haven’t read it already…

 

Priest of Bones

I’m not a fan of reading via the Kindle app on my phone, but that is how I started this book yesterday. That was for practical reasons; I was at my hairdressers and my phone is honestly the easiest way to take books with me for the appointment.

I managed to read the first three chapters of the book whilst I was there. I’m already a fan of the writing style and the characters, so we’ve got off to a good start here. I’m hoping this is the book that will give me a kick up the bum to get back on with reading. Failing that, I’ve got some reading obligations coming up – a deadline might be what I need!

 

Books Discovered

Having added a couple of books to the reading list last week, I’ve decided to behave and I’ve not added anything new this time!

 

Coming Up…

With the beginning of a new month, next week promises both my monthly wrap up post for September on Tuesday, as well as a brand-new reading list on Friday. Out of necessity, this month’s list is probably going to include some carryovers from September, as well as three books that I need to review before the end of the month as I’ve signed up to do so. I hope you’re as excited for those posts as I am!

You know the drill – I will round off the week with another Sunday Summary update.

Hopefully I’ll have considerably more news to share with you next week! Now that I’ve decided to change tack a little, and gotten through the period of other obligations, I’m optimistic for a better run next week. You’ll have to tune into next week Sunday Summary to find out if that is the case though!

Until then, I hope to see you in the next post.

 

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Sunday Summary – 24th September 2023

Today’s Sunday Summary comes from a rather miserable evening here on the Island! It’s blowing a hoolie out there, as we often say, and I’m grateful to be tucked in at home!

What’s been happening this week? Well, I started off the week with a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post, I featured some of the books I anticipate to read over the course of autumn. there are a number of seasonal reads in this list. If you are interested or looking for some inspiration yourself, take a look at that post and see if anything catches your eye!

On Friday, I shared my next instalment in my ongoing series, Well I Didn’t Know That! When I wrote to you this time last week, I had no idea as to what the topic of that feature was going to be. Thankfully, not christening this enabled me to feature some topical news that came up earlier in the week. If you’re interested in reading about the recently filed lawsuit by big-name authors against ChatGPT owner OpenAI, then take a look at that post.

 

Books Read

 

Twelve Years a Slave

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I was just under 70% through Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. When I left you, I had around 40 minutes reading time left in the book in order to make it to completion. I can’t recall how long it actually took, but it didn’t feel too far off that.

I’m glad I persevered with the nrrative style of this book. I won’t lie – at first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with this book. It is written in quite a different style. When you consider the book was published in 1853, that shouldn’t be a big surprise. However, I’m glad I was able to get used to the style and finish it through to the end.

Twelve Years a Slave it’s quite a difficult book to read in terms of subject matter. To think that so many people were treated as badly as, and if not far worse than Solomon, is a difficult truth to swallow. However, I am a firm believer that we cannot learn from our past if we refuse to acknowledge that it happened. I found the story really insightful not only from a historical point of view, but also considering the ability of humans to endure in times of extreme hardship.

 

A Storm of Swords

When it comes to my main read for this week, I confess that I haven’t done all that well. Over the last few weeks I’ve been maintaining a reading pace of around 500 pages a week. I certainly haven’t done that this week!

I started off reading my paperback copy of A Storm of Swords. However, I found myself struggling with this a little. Some books are easier to hold than others. I’ve also been reading a lot from my Kindle, so switching from that to a paperback can be a bit of a challenge.

I ended up switching to my Kindle edition with this in order to keep making progress. That has still only worked so far, as I’ve only read 200 pages of the book this week. I will be looking to read more tonight, but in all, progress is down. Perhaps if I’d spent a bit less time playing Horizon Forbidden West this week, then I could’ve made some more progress. But then again, I had a good time so who am I to deny myself that?!

I also find that when I am re-reading books, any sense of urgency to get through them seems to disappear. If this continues to be the case, I may decide to read this book in tandem with another… but we’ll see.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added a couple of non-fiction reads to the reading list this week. The first of which isn’t out yet, but I’m adding it so I can pick it up when it does.

The first book I have added is This Book May Save Your Life by Dr Karan Rajan. If you spend any length of time on TikTok, Facebook or Instagram watching reels, then you’ll have seen videos by Dr Rajan. I really like the humour that comes through in his videos, and when I watched one of him reading an extract of this book, it had all the elements of humour we have come to know and love. And if you wanted a fun fact, that particular extract discusses how we all begin our lives as a*seholes… literally!

The second book was also added as a result of a recommendation via Facebook reel. I’m trying to read up more on personal development and when I saw the recommendation for Radical Candor, I decided to give it a go!

 

Coming Up…

Next week is going to be a busy one, so I’m deliberately not going to do anything to onerous when it comes to my blogging commitments. Early in the week, I am going to be spending a couple of evenings baking for a Macmillan Coffee Morning that I’ve organised at work. I’m also out for several evenings this week, which is most unlike me!

With this in mind, on Tuesday, I’ll be sharing a booktag post. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done one of these, and I haven’t really seen many about. The theme of this tag is my ‘firsts’ in 2023.

On Friday, it’s the turn of my Shelf Control feature post. In this series, I feature books coming up on my reading list and why I’m excited to pick them up! This week, I feature a young adult book by one of my favourite authors, Brandon Sanderson. Having read and enjoyed the first three books in his Skyward series so far, I’m confident that I will enjoy this one as well!

As always, I’ll be rounding off the week with another Sunday Summary update post for you all. Fingers crossed for more reading progress, although with the plans I’ve set, maybe not! 

In the meantime though, that’s it for today’s Sunday Summary post. I hope you have a fabulous week and I will catch you in the next post!

 

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Monthly TBR – September 2023

Hello fellow reading friends! I hope you’re as excited for my September Monthly TBR as I am!

I usually set myself a challenge every month and that’s no exception here! However, this month the stretch is more achievable. The books I set out on this list come out to around 2500 pages in total. Over the course of the month, that works out at needing to read an average of 83 pages a day. That’s about what I’ve been doing anyway.

I do have a small stretch in that in addition to the books shared on this list, I also need to finish my carryover book from August, Wizard and Glass by Stephen King. That adds an additional 400 pages to the monthly total, and ups the daily page count to 97 pages. As I say, a bit of a stretch, but not unachievable!

This month, I have a fairly even mix of fixed reads to pick up, as well as some that I have some freedom to change if I need to. Let’s get into this monthly TBR and take a look at what’s coming up reading-wise…

 

Fixed Reads

My first reading priorities of September are to pick up and finish two blog tour reads. I’m hoping to have both books finished by the 10th of September (at the latest, the first review is due on the 10th). I’ve already made a healthy start into the first and I won’t be hanging around to start the second.

The deadlines then slacken a little, as the remaining books on my ‘fixed’ reading list come from my monthly TBR pick, and a new feature, a book chosen by my Instagram followers.

 

Protector of Mercia

Protector of Mercia is my current read (Wizard and Glass is still ongoing, although I will be reading it around PoM if I can).

Protector of Mercia is the fifth book in M.J. Porter’s Eagle of Mercia series. I’ve already read and reviewed the first four books on my blog (review of Eagle of Mercia, book four linked here as that contains links to all prior books). Having really enjoyed the unique perspective these offer, I’ve been looking forward to taking part in that over the latest book… which incidentally was published today.

As I’ve already briefly alluded to above, the review deadline for this book is the 10th of September. With just a few days left before that review was due, I am making all haste through this narrative and enjoying every second of it!

 

The Trail

The next book I will be picking up straight after Protector of Mercia is The Trail by M.A. Hunter.

The review deadline for The Trial comes thick and fast after Protector of Mercia, being just two days later. I’m sure you can see why I’ve put down Wizard and Glass for now in favour of these books. I decided to take part in the blog tour for this book based on the sound of the synopsis. I haven’t read anything by this author before, so it will be a new experience for me. having not read a thriller for a little while, I’m looking forward to a change up in genre as well.

 

Twelve Years A Slave

September’s TBR Jar pick works really well with my goal of reading more non-fiction. I happened to pull Twelve Years a Slave from the jar.

I feel like I featured on my blog not that long ago, but in reality, it’s probably longer than I thought. Already, I’ve downloaded a digital copy of this book from my library already, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in! Although I am familiar with the title, and I know that there has been a film based on this true story of the author, I am very ignorant of what actually happens. It’s for that reason that I am looking to pick this book up.

It offers a perspective I have never read before, and provides the educational aspect that I need. I’m a firm believer that we shouldn’t shy away from even the nastiest parts of our history. How can we learn from such things if we try to hide from them?

 

Priest of Bones

The last book on my fixed reads list of this monthly TBR is Priest of Bones by Peter McLean. In order to choose two books from my reading list, from which to poll my followers, I used a random number generator. This month, my followers had the choice of picking either Priest of Bones, or the runner-up, Killing for Company. I would have been happy with either choice, but I’m excited that this particular book won. I am predominantly a fantasy reader, yet I only have one other fantasy on this TBR (excepting Wizard and Glass once again!)

I suspect I’ll be reading the runner-up selection next month, as I’m keen to get to that one as well. If you want to have a say in my future polls, be sure to follow me on Instagram ahead of the next vote.

 

Mood Reads

 

A Storm of Swords – part 1

One of the things I set out to do earlier this year was to re-read the A Song of Ice and Fire series (aka A Game of Thrones), ahead of publication of the sixth book in the series. There were rumours that this was going to be towards the end of this year, although I’ve heard very little since.

That works out for me, because I am nowhere near as far along with the re-read as I initially planned. Instead, I’ve been picking up some other great reads, and this has fallen by the wayside a little.

In September, I’m going to be reading the first part of A Storm of Swords only. That’s hefty enough at about 600 pages. This is also the longest book on this monthly TBR… by a long shot! More typically, I would read books closer to an average of 500 pages. This month I’m uncharacteristically less at 357!

 

Lost Solace

The one book I didn’t touch at all in August is Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I’ve read a number of books related to this main series and reviewed them for blog tours in the past. Lost Solace has been on my backlist to read. Since I didn’t get to this book in August, I am making it the highest priority mood read of the month.

 

The Last Thing To Burn

I’ve been a member of a local bookish group on Facebook for a while, and another member recently suggested starting a book club. There’s nothing set in stone as yet. But, I quite like the sound of the book that’s been chosen. So, I’ll read it in case an event (virtual or not) goes ahead.

 

Summary

As if quite often the case nowadays, I have quite the range of books and genres in this list!

Have you read any of the books listed in today’s monthly TBR? Are any of them on your reading list?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – June 2023

Hello friends and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up post for June! Overall, it has been a very good month of reading. All the books I completed were five star reads. One blip I had in the month resulted in a book going on hold. It’s not so much that there is anything wrong with the book. However, I just found that trying to read it when I did wasn’t the right time. I’ll explain more about that later.

In my June TBR, I set myself an ambitious goal. I didn’t get around to one of the books at all, but that’s okay. It will still be waiting for me whenever I am ready to pick it up!

Shall we dive into this monthly wrap-up and take a look at what I read in the month of June?

 

Books Read

 

A Clash of Kings

I started off with a re-read of a favourite book. As I mentioned in a few other posts on my blog this year, there are rumblings about the next book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, (a.k.a. Game of Thrones), coming out in the near future. With that in mind, I wanted to start a re-read of the series this year, so I can pick this next instalment up whenever it comes out.

I really enjoyed going back to this second book in the series. Whilst I’ve read the first book more times than I have continued with the series, that’s not to say that they are any less good. I ended up making progress through this book in a variety of different ways. I predominantly read this book using my paperback copy, however, there were occasions where I dipped into my kindle version, and also the audiobook copy I have.

It’s rare that I will read a book like this. However, given the size of the book, and the effective time constraint I had set myself to read it (so I could get to the rest of my books in June), this ended up being a good way of helping me progress at times when I couldn’t physically pick the book up.

 

The Lost Metal

The next book I picked up in the month was the final instalment in the Mistborn second era, The Lost Metal. This book came out in November last year. Being a reasonably recent publication, getting copies of this book isn’t exactly the cheapest right now. Fortunately for me, my library had a copy. So, I decided to borrow this one.

Reading and finishing this book was a bittersweet experience. I absolutely love the book, the storyline, and all the characters we’ve come to know and love over this four-part series. The ending was great, even though it made me very mad. No spoilers, but the ending was incredibly clever, high-stakes and heartbreaking! Me being me, I ended up finishing this book quite late on one night as I couldn’t possibly put it down with just 50 pages left. It took me a long time to get to sleep that night as I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

I really hope Brandon Sanderson comes back to this series and writes a third era. Personally, I loved how he built upon his already established world. He created the brilliant first era trilogy, and then advanced upon it for the second era. If he can do the same thing again, then I’m excited to see what he comes up with.

 

The Midnight Library

Next, I decided to pick up a relatively short read. At just under 300 pages, this has to be one of the shortest books I’ve picked up in the year so far. It was no less impactful despite its size. The Midnight Library is a book that puts a strong lens on mental health and gives us readers a chance to explore what it might be like to feel as if you have nothing left to live for.

I would definitely recommend it to anybody to read at some point in their lifetime. Through this short narrative, we explore ideas of what it would be like to live different lives. How would our lives be different if we made a different decision at a given time? I went into this book knowing this was the concept and with some ideas of themes the book would explore. In reality, it ends up doing a lot more than that. When I purchased my copy of this book, the bookseller told me that it had changed his outlook on life. I would also agree.

Although the narrative follows of one character and her vast exploration of alternative lives she could have lived, and what she learns about herself in the process, I found myself thinking about myself in that same way. In a way, this book taught me about my fundamental beliefs. It taught me what was important to me, the things I would never change about myself, even if I had the chance. It taught me that I should, and can, appreciate even the smallest things… because they can make all the difference.

This was the first time I had ever read a book written by Matt Haig, and it definitely won’t be the last!

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The last book I picked up in the month was The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. Much like The Midnight Library, the author of this book was a new one to me. It is an author I had also heard great things about, so I went into the book wondering if I could live up to the hype. It definitely did!

I had initially started this book after recognising that Children of Dune wasn’t really working for me. I ended up starting the first couple of chapters, and then putting it down to try and push through Children of Dune, before ultimately coming back to it.  Whereas that book wasn’t working for me because it is a very serious, political science-fiction narrative, The House in the Cerulean Sea is quite the opposite. It is lighthearted and fantastical.

In this narrative, we experience the life of Linus Baker, a caseworker who was sent on a special assignment to a classified orphanage way outside of his normal life. The orphanage is classified because it is home to potentially dangerous magical children… and one of the residents in particular makes the governing body nervous.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is really a heartwarming read. It also ended up being an apt book to pick up in June (albeit I finished the book in July), as it contains a number of queer characters. I really enjoyed the relationships that built up throughout the narrative. Although that’s not something I actively seek out in a book, it ended up working really well in this narrative. It wasn’t forced or shoehorned in for the sake of inclusion. Rather, it felt very natural.

Based on my experience of this book, I will definitely be reading more of T.J. Klune.

 

DNF / Hold

Children of Dune

As I briefly mentioned above, I attempted to pick up and read Children of Dune this month. In the end, I only made it to around 150 pages before I decided that this particular read isn’t working for me right now.

The Dune series is a very serious and dense political science-fiction. It’s not the type of book that I can or will pick up every day. Whilst I have enjoyed the series so far, and to an extent, I did still enjoy what I read this month, I just didn’t have the mental stamina for it. The 150 pages I did read was done over the course of a week. As far as my reading speed goes, that’s terrible! I was also finding that I wanted to read, but I wasn’t reading very much of this book at a time (and that’s if I did my persuade myself to pick it up – there are plenty of times I distracted myself with other things deliberately).

In the end, I decided to own up to the fact that it wasn’t working, and I have put this book on hold for now.

 

Summary

I may not have gotten to all the books I intended to pick up in June, and although I have one book that I put on hold, I’ve had a good reading month otherwise. It’s rare to have read so many books that have been so highly rated and made such a profound effect on me. I’ve also discovered two new authors this month that I want to read more from in the future!

So, here concludes my monthly wrap-up post for June 2023! Have you read any of the books I picked up in the month of June? Are any of them on your reading list?

Check in on my blog later this week, as I will be sharing the books I intend to pick up throughout July. I hope you can join me for that!

 

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Sunday Summary – 18th June 2023

Good evening all and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary. It’s a special day here, as it is Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there. I’ve enjoyed spending the day with mine. I know I’m completely biased in saying that mine is the best, but he is! 

I’ve kept myself busy on the reading and blogging front of this week. I started off the week in sharing my review of a Netgalley ARC I downloaded a couple of months ago – Death Magnanimous by Michael Martin. The book is due to come out around the 1st of July. With that in mind, I wanted to set out my thoughts ahead of publication. Although this is a book that handles some difficult themes, I think it does so very well. I really enjoyed the subject matter (and I hope you do too).

On Friday, I shared a Shelf Control post and featured a book that will be coming up on my TBR shortly. This particular book also made it to my 30 Before 30 list which I shared recently. If you’re interested to find out which of those books I plan to pick up in the very near future, here is a link to this post so you can find out!

 

Books Read

 

A Clash of Kings

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I had just 66 pages remaining of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. After sharing last week’s post, my plan was to finish the book that night… And finish it I did!

These books are brilliant, and they are books I could go back to again and again and enjoy just as much each time. It goes without saying that I really enjoyed diving back into the series. This second instalment is quite hefty, but it doesn’t really feel like it when you read it. The chapter lengths and changes in perspective suit me really well. I had already read a lot of this book last week, and I was happy to finally finish it off ready for a clean slate on Monday.

 

The Lost Metal

The next book I picked up, and have been reading for the rest of the week, is The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson. I chose this book to read next as it is slightly shorter than A Clash of Kings, and I didn’t want to jump into another chunky read straight after this one. The Lost Metal is still around 500 pages, so it couldn’t be called short. However, compared to A Clash of Kings, The Lost Metal is proving to be an easier read.

It’s been a little while since I last picked up the series, but it hasn’t been difficult to jump right back into the action. I also really love the second era Mistborn characters. Wax and Wayne, and the westernised setting of the books, works really well for me. I know that it’s not well suited to others, but I really enjoy it. The characters themselves also have a great dynamic and I’m enjoying their perspectives once again. I’ll almost be a little bit sad once I finish this book, as this is the end of second era Mistborn.

As of this Sunday Summary update, I have read just over 400 out of 500 pages. I’m hoping to go to bed not too late tonight, because I know I want to make more progress. But once I’ve made some progress, I’ll be keenly aware of how very close I am to the end. I have a bad habit of not being able to leave books once I get that close to the finish. I don’t doubt I’ll be pushing myself over the finish line tonight!

 

Books Discovered

I’m continuing my good streak of not adding any new books to my reading list. I’ve said it more than once but I will say it again. This is not a bad thing! If you take one look at my reading list on Goodreads, you will know I need absolutely zero help with expanding my TBR!

 

Coming Up…

The first post I intend to share with you next week is a Top Ten Tuesday post! It’s been a little while since I shared one of these features, but I’ve been holding out for a topic I’m interested in. Earlier this year, I shared my top ten books on my spring reading list. This time, I will be drafting a similar post, but for my summer reads. Whilst the weather is still looking good into next week, ironically, we’ve probably had our peak summer already! That doesn’t really matter though, as I’m not the type of person to pick traditionally seasonal reads. Not only that, but if the weather turns back cold/rainy/unpleasant, then that’s all the more justification to sit in with a good book, right?

On Friday, I’ll be returning with the next regular Friday feature due to come up on my blog. That post is a First Lines Friday. I’m in the mood to set myself a challenge for this post. I’m not going to set an overly difficult one here. On the theme of summer reads, I am going to feature one of the books that makes it to my top 10 summer reading list which I’m sharing earlier in the week.

As always, I’ll be back at the same time next week with another Sunday Summary to share all my reading updates with you, and let you know what I plan to share in the coming week.

That’s all for now! Have a wonderful evening and week and I will catch you in the next post! Happy reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 11th June 2023

Good evening and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post! I have a lot of reading to share with you in today’s post. All that progress has been in one book, but it is a chunky one! More on that later. As always, let’s take a look at the blog posts I shared throughout the week.

The first blog post I shared this week was my 30 Before 30 list. Having been inspired by another book lover recently, I’ve decided to set down a list of 30 books I would like to try and read before I turn 30. I’ve left this a little bit late to set out, so I don’t expect to get through all 30 books. However, the post is my expression of intent to prioritise these books and read as many as possible before then.

The next post I shared with you was a new instalment to my Well, I Didn’t Know That! series. In that post, I featured a service that I discovered at the end of last week. If you are a history fan that likes to learn across multiple platforms (documentaries, podcasts, and more) then this post may be of interest to you.

 

Books Read

 

A Clash of Kings

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 280 pages into A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Over the course of the week, I have read and listened to the equivalent of another 530 pages. That leaves me with just 66 pages until the end of the book! This week has been a bit of a funny one in how I’ve made my reading progress. Typically, I only own one copy of the book. However, as this is a much loved series, I own this in e-book, audiobook, and physical format.  I’ve ended up dipping in and out of all of these this week.

For the most part, I have been reading the physical book. However, there have been times where I’ve not been able to sit down and read traditionally. As and when needed, I have switched to the audiobook and listened whilst doing jobs around the house to continue with progress. Yesterday, I even dipped into the e-book format briefly. As it is not really practical to take a 900 page paperback with you to the hairdresser, I decided to pick up where I left off on my phone for a couple of chapters.

A Clash of Kings is a very chunky book. I typically find that larger books take me longer to read… not just because there’s more pages. They’re often far more dense and so I can’t binge read them in the same way. Although I am technically behind my page per day target, there is every chance I could catch up with other shorter reads throughout the month.

Even though I’m not here saying I haven’t finished the book this week, I’m confident that I will finish it tonight!

 

Books Discovered

Much as last week, there are no new additions to my reading list to share with you this week.

 

Coming Up…

Next week, the first post I plan to share with you is a book review for an advanced reader copy that I read last month. As the book is coming out at the beginning of July, I want to get my review published ahead of release. Death Magnanimous is the first book I have downloaded from Netgalley for a while. At least, it is the first download I have made in a while that hasn’t been for a blog tour. Not only do I want to get my review out there for the sake of the book, but it will also boost my rating on the site and give me access to request more, if I find something else that catches my eye.

On Friday, i’ll be back with my Shelf Control regular feature post. In that post, I’ll be talking about one of the books that made it to my 30 before 30 list, and that I’m planning to pick up as early as next month!

I’m sure you know what is coming by now. The last post I’ll share next week will be my next Sunday summary update. How many books will I have picked up between now and then? Only time will tell!

Until next time, happy reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 4th June 2023

It’s the end of another glorious weekend, and as always, I’m here to tell you about the books I’ve been reading in this Sunday Summary update!

Before we get into the books I’ve been reading, let’s take a quick look at the blog posts I’ve shared over the course of this week so far. On Wednesday, I shared my Monthly Wrap-Up post for May 2023. May was a fantastic month on the reading front! I picked up a total of eight books throughout the month, and finished seven.

On Friday, I talked about the books I plan to read throughout the month of June in my Monthly TBR post. I don’t intend to pick up half as many books as I did throughout the month of May. However, I am picking up lengthier books this month. If you want to check out what I’m reading, you can find a link to that post above. I’ll also discuss my first read of the month later in this post. 

 

Books Read

 

Against All Gods

As of my last Sunday Summary update, I had just started to read Against All Gods by Miles Cameron. I couldn’t really make too much comment in that post as I’d only just started the book. Unfortunately, I have more to say now, and it’s not great news.

I only made it to 20% into this book before I decided to DNF it. My main problem with it is that the book lacks any substantial plot line, in my opinion. As of the point at which I put the book down, we were introduced to a plethora of characters at a very superficial level. So much so, that I couldn’t really invest in any of them. Not only that, but very little had happened in the book to capture my interest.

We have been introduced to a lot of characters that for one reason or another had taken up issue with the gods. And I don’t blame them. Very reminiscent of gods in Greek mythology, those we are introduced to condone and encourage violence and debauchery amongst themselves and mortals… but other than that, there was very little about them.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I found the book a little bit boring. It took me at least four days to read the 20% I got through before putting it down. Ultimately, I made the decision to stop reading, and I’m glad I did. There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to a book you’re not interested in.

It is a bit of a shame as the synopsis of the book caught my attention. It is a story that could have a lot of promise. However, I found it a little failing in the execution. That is just my personal preference though.

 

As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow

On a better note, I finished listening to As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow this week! I loved this book. It is not a book I would have picked up of my own volition. Instead, I read it as part of an online book club… And I’m glad I did!

The book and the author does a fantastic job of reminding us of the human face of the conflict in Syria. If you hear about it at all, it is about boats of refugees that sank when trying to flee for safety. They are numbers, not people. We do not hear about the civilians trying to live their daily lives being shot at. We do not hear about the fates of those who dared to protest against the regime and are arrested for their ‘crime’. Most are not seen again… but what they have to live through first in captivity is often worse than death.

Whilst this narrative does have its darker side, it is captivating in its description of the people and the countryside that make up Syria. I really enjoyed listening to the stories of the characters that touch the protagonist Salama, as well as her own.

It is definitely one of the most memorable, if not one of the best reads of the year so far!

 

A Clash of Kings

After the disappointment of Against All Gods, I was glad to be returning to a firm favourite for my first read of June. A Clash of Kings is the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire (aka A Game of Thrones) series. I have decided to re-read this series this year as there is rumour about the next book in the series being published soon. I have seen a date as early as November this year, but that could still be subject to change. Regardless, I want to be prepared for when that book comes out.

As of drafting this Sunday Summary post, I am 280 pages into the book. That might sound a lot. However, when you consider that this book is 873 pages long, I still have a substantial way to go.

Even so, I am really enjoying the book. This series is one that I could read on loop and never get bored of. Whilst this book does have a lot of characters and perspectives, it does not work for plotline whatsoever. Quite the opposite, I enjoy the intricacies of all the threads between each character… and it is one of those series that you can always pick up on something else with every re-read.

 

Books Discovered

It’s another quiet week on the TBR, with no new additions… for now!

 

Coming Up…

I wanted to share something a little bit different this week. A book vlogger I follow has been running series called 30 before 30. The concept of this post is pretty much what it says on the tin. It is a list of the 30 books she wanted to read before she turned 30. I have decided to put together a similar list. I probably should’ve done it sooner, but better late than never! On this list, I’ll be featuring a number of books that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time (and so I’m taking this opportunity to prioritise them). If you’re interested to find out what these books are, check out my post on Wednesday.

On Friday, I’ll be sharing the next post in my series, Well, I Didn’t Know That. I’m keeping my cards close to my chest for this week’s topic. I have an idea for the post, but I want to explore it in a little bit more detail to see if I can make the content I want out of it!

To round off the week, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary update this time next week!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary post! What are you reading?

 

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Monthly TBR – June 2023

Happy Friday and welcome to my monthly TBR post for June 2023.

Summer is here, and we’ve had a glorious stretch of weather for over a week now. So far, it looks set to continue! For motorbike fans, this is also good news as it means the TT is set to have a good run this year. I’m not one for bikes, but I’m not going to complain about the sunshine. I plan to enjoy some of it tonight whilst sitting out in the garden reading.

Speaking of which, how about we jump into the books I plan to read over the course of June?

 

Fixed Reads

I only have two fixed reads on my June TBR. Normally, I would have a minimum of two fixed books on a monthly TBR. However, I am not reading along with Ezeekat’s book club this month, as the particular book chosen is not my taste at all. I have no qualms with pushing boundaries, as I did last month even. However, this book has been chosen with Pride Month in mind. It’s a YA romance… which is just not my thing at all. I’ll keep an eye on the selection for next month and hopefully I’ll be back with the club soon.

Instead, my other fixed reads of the month hav only been put into this category as I have pulled them from myy TBR Jar or borrowed the book from the library. As it has a deadline to go back, I want to prioritise it.

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The first fixed read I will be picking up this month is The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I have seen a lot of press and good reviews about this book… this author, in fact!

I am yet to try any of his books. It is the synopsis of The House in the Cerulean Sea that has appealed to me the most. That’s why I’d like to start my journey with this author by trying this book. I added this to my TBR last year, and as a result, it has come up as this month’s TBR Jar selection.

 

The Lost Metal

As I mentioned above, I have borrowed a copy of The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson from my local library. Judging by the return card in the front of the book, this has been a popular one to take out!

I have read and enjoyed all of the Mistborn novels in the series so far. in particular, I really enjoy how the series has been split into two separate eras, and that there has been a lot of change between the two. Of the two series, I would say that the second era is my favourite. Naturally, I’m looking forward to continuing that era in picking up this fourth book.

I’ll be honest and say that until I read the synopsis of this book when I took out the loan, I didn’t really know much about what this story entailed. I’m reading this book as its continuing a series I already know I love!

 

Mood Reads

 

A Clash of Kings

My first mood read of the month also happens to be my current read. This year, I am setting out to re-read the Song of Ice and Fire series as we are expecting the publication of the sixth book in the series before too long. Naturally, I wanted to bring myself back up to date and with a refresh of the series.

A Clash of Kings is one of the two chunky reads on my June TBR. This one is no less than 873 pages, and as of this post, I am just about 100 in. I really enjoyed the introduction I’ve had so far, and I’m hoping to be able to make more progress quickly!

 

Ship of Destiny

The second chunky read on my June TBR is Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. Regular readers on my blog will know that I have been reading books from the Realm of the Elderlings series since June last year.

Ship of Destiny is the sixth book in the overall series, and the final book of The Liveship Traders trilogy. I have been reading the books from the series at a reasonable pace. I’ve been able to keep on top of what is going on and who the characters are, but I’ve not sacrificed all reading in favour of these books alone. It’s a pace that I hope to continue, and I’m looking forward to seeing how events in The Liveship Traders trilogy so far, conclude.

As I said, Ship of Destiny is the second chunky book on this TBR. Weighing in at just over 900 pages, it’s safe to say I could double this up as a weapon and knock somebody out with it if required…

 

Children of Dune

Another series that makes it onto this monthly TBR is Dune by Frank Herbert.

Children of Dune is the third book of the Dune series. I confess it has been a little bit longer since I read Dune Messiah, but I’m confident that I will get right back into it as soon as I pick this up. With having multiple fantasy books on this TBR, I’m looking forward to picking up a science-fiction novel for a change of genre. This book selection also goes towards my overarching goal for 2023 of continuing ongoing series as opposed to picking up new books.

 

The Midnight Library

The last book on my monthly TBR I’m hoping to read in June is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. This is another book that I have heard rave reviews about, and significant praise for the author across multiple books. When I purchased my copy of this book, it came highly recommended by the bookseller. He said that this book changed his outlook on life. If I wasn’t intrigued already, and you can be sure that captured my interest even more.

The Midnight Library is the shortest book on my June TBR, at just under 290 pages. I don’t think it will surprise you when I say that I will be looking forward to a shorter read at some point this month… considering the epics I already have on this list!

 

That is my monthly TBR for June – wish me luck! In order to get through this months reading list, I need to average reading 113 pages a day. Am I confident I’ll do it? No. Am I willing to push myself and rise to the challenge? Yes!

Have you read any of the books I feature in my June TBR?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – March 2023

Hello my friends and welcome to my monthly wrap-up for March 2023! I hope you have had a good reading month as I have!

This month was a little bit of a bizarre experience, because it seemed to start off quite slowly. Then again, I did start with quite a large book. By the time I worked my way through that one, the pages seemed to fly! In my monthly TBR for March, I set myself my typical TBR, but also included a stretch goal. That goal was to start one further book before the end of the month. And, I achieved that goal!

Normally, I tend to read books on my fixed reading list first in the month, and then revert to my mood reads. However, it didn’t really happen this month. Instead, I’m going to share the books I read in March in chronological order.

 

Books Read

 

Africa Risen

As of my last monthly wrap-up post, I was at 68% through Africa Risen and hoping to finish this early in March. I definitely pushed my way through this one.

It was an interesting book as it is written in a format I don’t read very often – an anthology. It made a change to read a collection of shorter stories and feature new perspectives, as opposed to those traditionally seen in westernised fantasy.

However, I didn’t love this book. I definitely prefer longer and more established narratives rather than collections of short stories. I like to get stuck in with a plot and engage with it in detail rather than check in with it superficially. These types of books do have good sides though. The main advantage of this shorter format was that I got to explore multiple different characters and perspectives.

As with all books, there were some elements/stories I wasn’t fussed on at all. There was some I did like. I’ve taken away what I wanted from them, but I will probably stick to predominantly non-anthologies in future.

 

A Game of Thrones

As I’ve heard on the grapevine that we can expect the sixth book in the series out in the not too distant future, I decided to start a re-read of the series. It’s going to take me some time to get through. Even this first book is approaching 800 pages long. Some of the books are so long that they are split into two. With that in mind, I wanted to make an early start, so I wasn’t having to rush through the books in order to be able to read the sixth one when it comes out.

As expected, I really enjoyed this re-read. This is the fourth time I have picked up A Game of Thrones. It is one of those books that I can pick up again and again and I will love just as much with every re-read.

As I mentioned in my introduction above, it did seem a little bit slow going at the beginning of the month. A 780 odd page book isn’t something to be devoured in a matter of days. I spent approximately half the month getting through this book alone! That said, it was great to go back to the beginning of the series, and I’m looking forward to picking up more books throughout the year.

 

The Book Eaters

Disappointingly, The Book Eaters didn’t live up to the expectation that the title led me to anticipate. Obviously, there is an element of book eating in the storyline. However, it wasn’t unique or pivotal enough for me to think it mattered. Ultimately, the main characters could have been substituted for any other minority group, and it would be the same.

The Book Eaters was a strange read in that I didn’t really enjoy it overall, there was enough intrigue in the plot to make me want to finish it. This book is also relatively short read at under 300 pages. By the time I made my mind up, I was a third of the way in. I decided to just crack on with it and give it a chance to redeem itself.

Sadly, I did end up disappointed with this book, and it achieved a rare rating from me – just two stars.

 

Feet of Clay

Looking for a bit of a pick me up, I then decided to read a firm favourite author – Terry Pratchett.

I’m a little bit embarrassed to admit how long it has been since I last picked up a Discworld novel. I like these books because they have a wide, overarching setting but with different sets of characters.

If I’m entirely honest, Feet of Clay wasn’t quite the pick me up I was hoping. It was still a decent read. However, the humour didn’t quite work for me in this particular book. I enjoy the city watch series in general, so I’ll still read the future books. But, it wasn’t my favourite either. Feet of Clay has some interesting messages and themes in the story, which I did appreciate. 

 

Soul Identity

Next, I picked up Soul Identity by Dennis Batchelder. This is a completely different genre and setting to the books I picked up so far in my March TBR. The best way I can describe Soul Identity is a scientific take on concepts like reincarnation.

Naturally, there is an element of religion and belief that comes into this narrative. I quite enjoyed how these concepts were explored both separately and together.

I didn’t overly love the main character, Scott, and I wasn’t a fan of the budding relationship between him and computer geek, Val. The author also has a terrible habit of describing female characters physically before going onto any other redeeming attributes. Although well noted for her intelligence, even Val falls victim to becoming most significant in the narrative because she’s pretty.

The relationship that forms between them didn’t really add much to the story, which I was hoping it would. It’s almost like it was added in there to give the narrative a bit more mainstream appeal and to make the subject matter a little bit more readable. I didn’t really do that for me, but that’s certainly the impression I get.

It was still a decent read, and I wouldn’t let it put me off picking up other books in the series.

 

Death of Kings

Death of Kings is where I really started to see some improvement in my reading experience! Death of Kings is the sixth book in the Saxon stories series, better known as The Last Kingdom.

I really enjoy the perspective we get in the use of books. Our protagonist Uhtred was born as a Saxon, but his settlement was raided and he was raised by Danes from a very young age. As a result, he has this ongoing conflict between these two factions and ways of life. He is a fierce warrior and ally to the king of Wessex, King Alfred. However, he also has ties to the Danes and in particular, their values in life and take on religion.

In this book, Uhtred stirs up a fair bit of trouble. I enjoy reading this mischievous side of him, and how he interject himself between these two rival sides. It undoubtedly gives him an edge, but also we experience the ups and downs of the conflict and his internal conflict throughout.

It is also been a little while since I last picked up a book from the series. I’m glad to say that I’m now back into it, and in line with my goal of reading more sequels this year, I’m hoping to continue with this one.

 

The Mad Ship

My stretch goal for March, after reading the books above, was to make a start on The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb.

I knew that I wasn’t going to get through this book in the slightest. On its own, this book is just over 900 pages long! My aim was to just get myself introduced to the characters and pick up from where we left off in the previous book. If I would put a figure on it, I was hoping to maybe get through the first 50-100 pages.

By the end of the month, I just exceed that goal in reading 120 pages. Even though I’ve already read that much, there are still characters we are getting reacquainted with. There are a lot of contributors in this narrative, and as each chapter is a reasonable length, I daresay I’ll be spending the first 200 odd pages picking back up where we left off!

Given that I read the first book fairly recently, there’s been less of an adjustment period compared to picking up the first book. That narrative was quite different from the first trilogy I read, so took some getting into. However, I’ve already read that book and invested in the storyline and characters. Starting this book was a breeze!

 

In all, I read close to 3000 pages in March… which is the most this year so far! If you’re till with me, thanks for taking the time to read this monthly wrap-up post. 

Have you read any of the books I’ve featured today? Are they on your reading list?

 

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