Tag: amreading

Sunday Summary – 18th February 2024

Good evening readers and welcome to this Sunday Summary update!

This week has been an unusual week of social plans, and so you’ll find this post a little light when it comes to reading updates. I celebrated my birthday this week, so I’ve had plans with family and friends over different days for the occasion. For the first time ever, I’ve also taken part in tree planting with a local charity just this morning. It’s a coincidence that it happened to be this week as well, but I’m ready for a rest! 😂

I did manage to turn out a couple of blog posts earlier in the week. The first of those posts was my book review of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. Whilst I’ve had the time to be able to share more reviews, I wanted to feature this young adult sci-fi as I have really enjoyed the series. I have already read the next two books in the series and will be reading the fourth shortly. It made sense to kickoff with my review of this first book so then I can follow on with the rest.

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. This week’s feature was inspired by conversations I’ve had with family in the last week or so about a specific author. Mum has been reading other books written by the author of this week’s feature (that I’ve already reviewed on my blog). Plus, mum’s recommended me a TV series based on another book of hers I intend to pick up very soon. If you want to find out what that is, you can check out that post here.

 

Books Read

 

Heart of the Sun Warrior

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 75% into Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lyn Tan.

My initial hopes of finishing this book quite quickly were quashed by the amount of ‘extra curricular’ stuff I’ve been doing this week. I have finished this book now, but I didn’t finish it until yesterday.

Overall, I rated this four stars. It could have been a three star, but I actually really enjoyed the ending. I wasn’t sure how the love triangle was going to play out. Had it gone the way I was expecting, I think that would have impacted the rating. The ending, however, was better than expected and so bumped it up to a four star.

I’m pleased that I can tick this off my reading list as complete as that is a series now wrapped up. It’s my first series concluded in 2024 – let’s hope it’s not the last!

 

Books Discovered

I didn’t receive any books for my birthday this year, but I was very fortunate to get vouchers so that I can spend them down the line…

I’m gutted! Can’t you tell? 😉

 

Coming Up…

My first post of the week will be a bit of a fun one. As I’ve shared some reviews lately, I want to lighten the content by sharing my version of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post. This week’s topic is bookish superpowers I wish I had! There are many…

On Friday I’ll be back with another Shelf Control feature. I’ve already shared two non-fiction historical books in these features so far and I’ve got a third lined up for this week’s post. It’s a completely different time period and subject to those I’ve already featured in this series so far. I like to read about a lot of historical periods, clearly! I hope you can check out this post.

As always, I’ll be back this time next week with another Sunday Summary update for you. As of this post, I have a lot less in the way of social plans lined up so I’m hopeful that more reading will get done. We’ll see though!

Until my next post, happy reading!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Book Review: Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

Whilst I have the time to catch up on some outstanding book reviews, I’m making the most of the situation and sharing some of my favourites. Today, I share my thoughts on the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s YA sci-fi series, Skyward.

I have a lot of great things to say about this book! At the time of publishing this review, I’ve read three out of the four books currently on the market. I’ll be looking to pick up the next in the series, Defiant, very soon!

 

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 513

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 06 Nov 2018

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Skyward

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

Skyward has an interesting plot that sucks you in from the synopsis. In truth though, there is far more to explore underneath the surface.

The narrative in which we explore through Spensa’s viewpoint is far more complex than meets the eye. The world history, Spensa’s upbringing and the discovery of a mysterious ship only start us off on this detailed, action-packed narrative. Although we pick up events from Spensa’s discovery onwards, in reality the set up of what happens in this book begins far earlier, and we unravel this history throughout the present day narrative.

As a military sci-fi, fans of combat will have plenty to enjoy in this book. We graduate alongside Spensa through training into live fighting. The drama and suspense keeps us on our toes as we never quite trust that the characters we grow to love throughout the book are safe. They’re not…

 

Setting

Science fiction fans will not be disappointed with the rich descriptions and detail in Skyward. Both in terms of the physical setting and the political environment Spensa grows up in, there is plenty to explore.

Skyward excels in its ability to stand out in the science fiction genre without too much techno-babble and jargon. As a book aimed at young readers, it’s especially important that Sanderson got this right… and indeed he did! I enjoy science fiction, although I wouldn’t say I have the brains for too much techy speak. I was able to follow everything with ease.

What makes this book extra special is that over time, we come to realise that the world and plot introduced throughout the first 400-450 pages is just a small speck in the galaxy. Skyward paves the way for the epic series it is, and sets the scene for the remaining books excellently!

 

Characters

The book is predominantly told from the perspective of a teenager who has grown up in the shadow of her father. His name is tarred for turning against his fleet in the midst of battle. Many try to discount Spensa and prevent her from training to fly out of fear that she will do the same thing as her father.

And in fairness, Spensa is a loose cannon. She is impulsive and independent, which are not traits conducive to an environment where teamwork is essential. Spensa has a lot to learn over the course of the book, about herself, but also about the perceptions that have tarnished her name throughout her childhood.

Whilst the book does well in sharing a detailed plot with rich descriptions, character development is also very prevalent in this narrative. I would say the book has a reasonable 50-50 split of both of these elements. Whether you prefer an action driven narrative or a character driven narrative, there is ample of each.

 

Narrative Style

With a young adult audience in mind, the narrative needs to be easy to read and approachable for a younger audience. Brendan Sanderson does this very well. This makes both the book and genre approachable to new or less developed readers and would serve as a great introduction to the genre.

At over 500 pages, there is plenty of storyline here to sink our teeth into. It has its fair share of twists and unexpected events. These are entwined into the narrative seamlessly and are shocking but not so complex but they cannot be understood either.

 

Summary

If you are looking for a new sci-fi series to start reading without complex jargon, and with a strong female protagonist, Skyward is one I would highly recommend. As of this post, I have gone on to read further two books in the series, with the fourth book recently out and making it to my reading list soon!

Brandon Sanderson is an author I will go back to time and again regardless of genre. If you are a fan of his fantasy books, don’t let the change of genre put you off giving this a try. He is a fantastic writer and being able to lend himself to different storylines, and indeed genre.

Have you read the Skyward or any other books by Brandon Sanderson that you would love to recommend to my readers?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Sunday Summary – 11th February 2024

Good evening friends – I’m back with my usual Sunday Summary post! If you are new here, Sunday Summary is my weekly update in which I share with you what I’ve been reading and sharing on my blog.

Before we get into the books I picked up this week, let’s do a quick recap of the blog post I’ve already shared.

The first post I shared this week went live on Wednesday. That post was a book review of Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I have already read a number of Karl Drinkwater’s books before. They were part of a side series to Lost Solace. After months of trying to get to the book, I finally read it in November last year. It’s always a pleasure to feature this author my blog; I have enjoyed every single book of his to date. If you want to find out more about this introduction to his main sci-fi series with a strong female lead and a witty AI, you can find out more here.

On Friday, I shared the next instalment in my Shelf Control regular feature. This is the second post of its kind of this year, and it also happens to feature a second historical non-fiction novel. Where the previous instalment looks at World War II, we step back far further into the realms of Ancient Egypt in Friday’s featured book. It is a biography of a famous female pharaoh, and not the one you would imagine. If your interest is piqued, you can find that post here.

 

Books Read

 

Heart of the Sun Warrior

I’ve only really made progress with one book this week, but it is another reasonable size. I’ve still managed to read a good few hundred pages.

Heart of the Sun Warrior is the sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan. I initially read the first book of this duology last year. Given that I’m trying to read more series, picking up the sequel was a natural choice.

As I borrowed this from my library digitally, I’m actually reading this book on my phone. It’s not my favourite format, but I’m making do. I’m enjoying the book, the complexities of the plot and the character relations within. I especially enjoy this book as I like the Asian inspiration behind the characters and storyline. I’m very used to reading westernised fantasy. It’s making a refreshing change to pick up something different.

As of this Sunday Summary, I am bang on 75% of the way through and hopeful that I’ll finish it shortly!

 

Books Discovered

After watching the first episode of Fool Me Once on TV, I have added the book of the same name by Harlan Coben to my reading list.

 

Coming Up…

Midweek, I plan to share a book review with you. I have quite the backlog, and I want to share another fun sci-fi book series with you. I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson, and I have read three out of four books of his Skyward series so far. I am yet to review any of the books in his series so far, so that’s what I’ll be featuring this week!

On Friday, I’ll be back with my First Lines Friday feature post. As with the last time I shared this type of post, I’m going to keep the topic free so that I have flexibility to feature what I want nearer the time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to pose myself a challenge sometimes. However, I’m quite happy to allow myself full flexibility on this occasion.

You know what’s coming next. I’ll be back at the end of next week with another Sunday Summary update. I’ll catch you up on the books I have read over the course of the week, any I’ve added to my reading list, and lastly, what is coming up on the blog.

Thanks for taking the time to read this Sunday Summary post!

What are you reading?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Book Review: Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

In November last year, I finally picked up Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. For months I tried to get to the book, but didn’t quite get there. Having read and reviewed numerous books in his Lost Tales of Solace series already, I was excited to finally see how they intertwined with the main series he has written.

If you enjoy fast-paced science-fiction and are interested in diving into a new series, then Lost Solace won’t disappoint!

Let’s take a look at the book!

 

Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 287

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Organic Apocalypse

Publication Date: 15 Oct 2017

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Lost Solace

 

They’re called the Lost Ships … but sometimes they come back.

And when they do the crews are missing, while the ships have been strangely altered, rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal Imbiana has been seeking something her whole life. It’s a secret so precious she’s willing to risk her life recovering it from a recently discovered Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But with the aid of an amazing AI companion and experimental armoured suit, Opal might just stand a chance.

This blast of a book kickstarted the much-loved Lost Solace series, about an unlikely friendship between two women who keep hope alive in the darkest of times.

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

If you enjoy fast paced and action-led plots, then Lost Solace is a book you won’t want to miss! Full of twists and turns, within is a compelling storyline in which we explore interesting facets of the lore in this world.

Opal is determined to explore the hostile environment of a re-emerged Lost Ship. Not only does she have the local environment to overcome, but she is also challenged by other humans on her quest for discovery. With an AI, Clarissa, on her side, she sets out to do what would appear to be impossible.

In a race against time, will Opal and Clarissa prevail? 

 

Setting

The Lost Ship is an eerie setting that we get to explore throughout the narrative. Whilst Opal and Clarissa feel very isolated in their quest, they are far from alone. If the local hostile environment wasn’t enough to contend with, Opal is being hunted down.

The tension and atmosphere Karl Drinkwater incorporates into this already busy narrative is impressive. Although the book overall is very action-led, there is enough world-building and description incorporated into the narrative to construct the deserted and eerie atmosphere present throughout.

 

Characters

Lost Solace is told from the perspective of two strong female leads. The first of these is Opal. She is a strong and inquisitive individual, empowered by her determination and force of will. Opal is accompanied by an AI known as Clarissa. She is incredibly smart – as can only be expected from a supercomputer. However, this isn’t just where her strengths lie.

For artificial intelligence, she is full of humour and dry wit. It’s a facet of personality that I only expected from her character as a result of reading Helene, and it works very well. It makes her stand out and adds depth to her personality. The interactions between Opal and Clarissa are hilarious to read. They break up the action in the book, making for a well-rounded read.

As a little extra, we also get to see characters from Karl Drinkwater’s other Lost Tales of Solace series. It was fun to see the overlap and get to revisit some of these individuals!

 

Narrative Style

Lost Solace has an easy to read, flowing narrative style. It is written in such a way that the book is approachable for readers of all levels and experience. Although a science-fiction book, the content isn’t so technologically advanced that readers are unable to understand what’s going on. It strikes up just the right balance of setting the scene, but also being clear and descriptive so no presumed knowledge is required.

At under 300 pages, it is also a quick read. I am a fast reader anyway, but a book of this length is definitely approachable for anyone interested in the genre, and for any level of commitment.

 

Summary

I am a fan of science-fiction, so I was never not going to love Lost Solace. It is the first book in a series that I will be continuing with as soon as possible!

Lastly, I cannot help but share the dedication that Karl includes in the opening of this book. I loved it!

To strong women everywhere, at all times. 

 

Have you read Lost Solace, or any other books by Karl Drinkwater?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Sunday Summary – 4th February 2024

Evening all and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week! It’s been a busy week with blog posts as it’s the beginning of the month. This is my fourth post of the week so far! Normally I’d spread the posts out over the week, but the way timing has worked out, they’re all at latter end.

My first post of the week was my monthly wrap-up for January, which was shared on Thursday. I read seven books in full in January, with plenty of variety in there! If you are interested to see what books I picked up, that’s the post to check out.

On Friday, I took part in a blog tour post for Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons. In that post, I shared my thoughts on this fourth instalment in the series. If you’re following the series and want to find out more, you can see my thoughts in my review above.

Yesterday, I shared my February TBR. With a long reading list completed in January, I set myself another ambitious list to keep up momentum. If you want to find out what I’m reading this month, you can find a link to my reading list using the link above.

 

Books Read

 

The Black Coats

This week I picked up The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes. I intended to read this in January, but I ended up finishing the book a couple of days ago.

As a contemporary fiction, it was quite a quick read. I enjoyed the feminist angle on the narrative and how the plot line progressed. It was a fun read, and although not too long, there was enough in there to help me invested in the characters and plot.

There is also plenty of action in the book to keep it moving forward. My reading pace with this book was naturally quite quick as the constantly moving and unfolding narrative kept me wanting to read more!

 

The Atlas Six

I’ve also made a little progress with The Atlas Six this week. As of this Sunday Summary, I’m still at the stage of getting to know the main characters and the set up of the book. However, I’m intrigued by everything I have listened to so far and I’m really enjoying the production.

I like how each of the main characters have been cast separately, as they are easy to identify and each have their own distinct voices and personalities. I’m not picky when it comes to audiobooks in terms of casting, or whether it is narrated by multiple people or not. However, I do seem to be enjoying multi-cast audiobooks a little more.

I’m looking forward to listening to more of this in the coming week!

 

Books Discovered

It’s another clean bill this week with no new books added to my reading list! As I’ve also finished The Black Coats, as of today’s post the reading list is at a mere 195 books to read.

Not many then…

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post of next week will be a book review. Since reading the book in November 2023, I’ve intended to share my review of Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I have read and reviewed multiple books in a side series of Karl’s previously. If you like science-fiction then make sure you check out my review in the coming days!

On Friday, I’ll be back with another Friday feature. This week, it is the turn of Shelf Control. If you are unfamiliar with the series, it encourages me to review upcoming books on my reading list and share why I’m looking forward to them. It’s proved a great way of whittling down the reading list behind the scenes if I’ve changed my mind on something since I added it. Otherwise, it hypes me to pick it up. Hopefully soon, but then I do have a lot to read so I can’t always promise that…

Lastly, you know that I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary at the same time next week.

Until then, happy reading!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Monthly TBR – February 2024

I have a great reading list line up for February, and today, I’m sharing that with you in this monthly TBR post!

I had a great start to the year in terms of reading progress in January. I recapped this in Thursday’s post, if you’re interested in checking that out. Trying to keep momentum, I’m setting myself another good size list as that seems to be motivating me at the moment. I have a re-read, some non-fiction and a conclusion to a series on the list. All these go towards my reading goals of 2024!

Shall we take a look at the list?

 

Fixed Reads

 

January Insta Poll – The Atlas Six

I might as well kick off this monthly TBR post by starting with my one carryover from January. I started listening to The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake at the end of the month, and to date, I’m just over 10% through.

So far, I am only really just in the introduction of the book, but I am enjoying it so far. I’m looking forward to listening to more of this audio as I’m enjoying the casting and overall production of it so far. The story definitely has interesting elements to learn about and I’m looking forward to exploring this more.

 

Insta Poll – The Queen’s Gambit

The runner-up to the Insta Poll I ran in January was The Queen’s Gambit. I like to try and read one a month, although The Atlas Six has bled over into February.

I watched the Netflix series years ago, so I am somewhat familiar with the story. However, it’s not so fresh in my mind, that reading the book will feel too much like repetition. I did really enjoy that series, so I have high hopes for this book.

It’s a shorter than I expected considering the length of the series, but I’m sure it will be good nonetheless.

 

The Icepick Surgeon

I discovered the The Icepick Surgeon via a fellow book blogger I follow on Instagram. Bibliobeth shared her intention to pick The Icepick Surgeon up in March this year. I like the sound of the book so much that I intend to pick it up now. Naturally, I want to keep up momentum with reading non-fiction as that is a reading goal this year.

I like the sound of this one as it covers, to an extent, subjects I enjoyed in psychology. You may call me morbid if you wish, but I found it both fascinating and horrifying. If you’re squeamish, then it may not want to go into too much detail. I’m ready for it though, and I’m looking forward to picking it up.

 

Heart of the Sun Warrior

Heart of the Sun Warrior is the sequel in the Daughter of the Moon Goddess duology. I read daughter of the moon goddess just over a year ago now so it feels like the right time to conclude the series. As you are probably aware, wrapping up series is one of my goals for this year. As I have just one book to read to complete, it’s an easy win… and what I’m looking forward to in any case.

What I liked about this first book is the Asian influence on fantasy as opposed to Western. I read a lot of westernised fantasy and I’m deliberately trying to branch out.

 

TBR Jar – Master of Sorrows

I’m not consciously trying to start new series, particularly this year, but the TBR jar has forced my hand. This time I pulled out Master of Sorrows by Justin Call.

I have a good few friends on Goodreads to have picked this up and really enjoyed the book. More specifically, though, it was the thoughts of Ashleigh that persuaded me to add the book to my reading list in June 2022.

Full of magic, a villain origin story arch and disability representation, it is a fantasy that offers some different elements to those I read normally.

 

Mood Reads

 

Hogfather

If I’d realised that Hogfather was the next Discworld book I needed to pick up, I would have been more proactive and read it in December. However, I didn’t, and I’m not waiting a whole year to keep going with the series!

I’m especially looking forward to reading Hogfather, as it is the fourth book in the death mini-series. If you are unfamiliar, the various books in the Discworld universe follow different types of characters. My favourite is The Witches series so far, but it is closely followed by Death.

I also love these books because they are satirical. It’s not a genre I read Emma, but I do enjoy the humorous plot, which is usually laced with a serious underlying topic or message underneath.

 

Fool’s Errand

It’s been a few months since I’ve picked up a book in the Realm of the Elderlings series. I wrapped up The Liveship Traders series in August last year and so it’s time to return.

With the next book, Fool’s Errand, we journey back to familiar characters from the first trilogy. I’m looking forward to revisiting those characters and seeing what happens next. I believe events jump forward in time from the first trilogy, so I have some catching up to do on what happened in between.

 

Empire of the Vampire

The last book to feature on this monthly TBR is a reread of a book I read in 2022. If you are unaware, the sequel to Empire of the Vampire is due out at the end of this month. With this in mind, I’m looking to pick up this first book in the series as a refresher, so then I can go onto to read Empire of the Damned – hopefully in March.

Whilst I could have just read a recap, I have since been gifted a special addition, copy of the book, and it will be rude not to appreciate it, right?!

 

Summary

I may only have eight books on February‘s reading list, as opposed to the 10 I featured in January’s monthly TBR. However, I read just under eight books in January, and some of these are longer than those I picked up last month too.

There is enough on this list to be a stretch without being too overzealous either. I’m looking forward to each of every book on this list, and I hope you can stick around for my thoughts and my reading progress.

For now though, that’s all from me in today’s monthly TBR post. Have you read any of the books on this list?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Blog Tour Review: Sword of Vengeance – Peter Gibbons

I feel especially privileged to bring you a review of Sword of Vengeance on both publication day and for the opening leg of this blog tour!

I’ve had the pleasure to feature two out of the three previous books in the series as part of tours – Warrior and Protector and Brothers of the Sword. I would have featured the second book in the series, Storm of War as well, if not for my oversight of missing the tour invite! This is a great historical fiction series to pick up if you love your Viking era literature.

Before we get into my review, I always take the opportunity to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, and to the author, Peter Gibbons for the opportunity to review the book as part of the tour.

 

Sword of Vengeance – Peter Gibbons

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages:

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 02 Feb 2024

Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

 

Goodreads – Sword of Vengeance

In the aftermath of the great battle of Maldon, justice is demanded and vengeance will be served!

992AD

King Aethelred’s the Unready’s army has been defeated at the historic Battle of Maldon by Viking invaders led by Olaf Tryggvason and King Sweyn Forkbeard.

The strategic turning point of the battle was when Godric, an East Saxon Thegn, fled the battlefield taking with him the Saxon army, leaving behind his brothers to be massacred in a welter of blood and Norse axe blades.

Saxon warrior Beornoth emerges from the ashes of defeat with his heart aflame with vengeance and when King Aethelred sends for Bernoth with orders to punish those traitors responsible for the crushing defeat, he heeds the king’s call.

With a small band of loyal warriors, Bernoth embarks on an unforgiving journey across the perilous landscape to seek out Godric and exact his bloody revenge. They must fight their way through a world teeming with political intrigue, shifting alliances and the ever-present threat of the Vikings.

Can Beornoth triumph over insurmountable odds in this pulse pounding quest for retribution?

If you enjoyed The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell, you’ll love Beornoth’s Quest for Vengeance!

 

Purchase Link

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

Sword of Vengeance is a fact-paced and action-packed narrative. That’s hardly surprising as the precedent was set from the get-go in this series, Warrior and Protector.

Events of the book pick up immediately after the conclusion of book three. I’m not giving away any spoilers here, so rest assured. What I can say is that the consequences of that battle, and the drama, are the driving forces of events in this book.

Beornoth and his brave warriors demand vengeance, and these bloodthirsty men have no qualms in seeking it out themselves! As with previous books though, there is an element of underlying politics and a wider plot which still touches on this very personal narrative. As a prominent warrior, Beornoth cannot wholly serve himself, and his ties to some of the most powerful men in the country ensure his actions have both impact and repercussions across the country.

 

Characters

The narrative of Sword of Vengeance is a very personal one in nature. Through this, we find ourselves investing heavily in characters such as Beornoth and Brand. They are the favourites we have come to know throughout earlier books in the series. In particular, I love their individual intricate stories and relationship with each other.

I never quite know or trust what will happen to characters in these books. Peter Gibbons doesn’t spare characters from rough treatment and puts them in the firing line time and again. After the events of previous books, I cannot be sure that the characters we have come to know and love will come unscathed. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating!

 

Setting

Beornoth and his band undertake a fair degree of travel in the book. New settings are beautifully and vividly described. If you are the type of reader visualise such things as you read, you will not find the narrative or descriptions wanting.

Although the main focus of the plot centres around Beornoth and his quest for vengeance, we still get to enjoy the wider setting of turmoil and conflict. Vikings continue to plague the Saxon peoples. The solution presented by the church to deal with this problem is to try and pay off the Vikings. Naturally, this harbours resentment from those who ultimately end up paying the bill. The people. Warriors like Beornoth know that this is only a temporary solution, and will likely beget a larger problem once word of Saxon riches gets out.

On the whole, the depth of the narrative and setting in which events take place makes for full and comprehensive immersion in the storyline.

 

Narrative Style

What I’ve found really helpful when reading Sword of Vengeance is that main plot points in the earlier books recapped as the narrative goes along. They serve as a great reminder of what has gone before, so if it has been a while since you’ve picked up the series, or indeed, if you haven’t picked up those books yet at all, you still know what’s going on. The only reason I wouldn’t recommend reading Sword of Vengeance as a standalone is because you would miss out on three fabulous books before this one. You absolutely could though, if you wanted to. But why would you want to do yourself dirty like that?

Despite plenty of action, Sword of Vengeance is very easy to read. The action compels you to read on, and the narrative style itself is approachable for all readers. I love historical fiction, especially about this time period. As a result of this, and the ease of reading, it was a book I found myself easily getting lost in!

Peter Gibbons strikes up a great balance in these books between chapter length and descriptive detail. Neither one compromises the other, and we can appreciate both in equal measure. Some people love action in their books… others are more character driven. Sword of Vengeance brings both together in a healthy balance, meaning there are elements of this book for all readers.

 

Summary

If you love action-packed narratives full of conflict and detailed battle scenes, Sword of Vengeance will not disappoint! As a huge fan of the genre and time period of both this book and the wider series, it is very much what I hoped for!

I’ve enjoyed this series every bit as much as other books I’ve read by both big names like Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden, as well as upcoming authors like M.J Porter and J.C. Duncan. If you have read any of my reviews of books by these authors and are looking for something similar, then I cannot stress enough how much you should pick up books by Peter Gibbons.

Although I haven’t read his Viking Blood and Blade series myself, I will share that it comes highly recommended to me by a work colleague of mine. Either of these series are great for fans in the genre, and I’ll be picking up that second one in my own time. If that isn’t testament to how much I enjoy Peter Gibbons writing, then I don’t know what is!

 

Author Bio

Peter Gibbons is a financial advisor and author of the highly acclaimed Viking Blood and Blade trilogy.

He comes to Boldwood with his new Saxon Warrior series, set around the 900 AD Viking invasion during the reign of King Athered the Unready. The first title of the new series, Warrior and Protector, will be published in October 2022. He originates from Liverpool and now lives with his family in County Kildare.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/petergibbonsauthor

Monthly Wrap-Up – January 2024

Happy Thursday February 1st, and welcome to my first monthly wrap-up of 2024! How are we one month into 2024 already? As they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

I set myself a chunky TBR back at the beginning of January. I’ve linked to that post if you want to see the full list of books I set myself. I didn’t get to all of them this month, which isn’t surprising given I set myself a list of 10! Saying that, I’ve read more than average this month, setting myself in good stead for the rest of the year (I can only hope!)

Shall we get to the recap of the books I read in January? Strap yourselves in – it’s going to be a longer post than usual!

 

Books Read

 

Gemina

Gemina was the physical read I carried over from 2023. I had only read about 40% of the book by the end of December. A solid start, but there was plenty of progress to make still!

As Gemina is a YA sci-fi written in a mixed media format, I gobbled up the rest of the book in just a couple of days. Like Illuminae, I found it difficult to put down! The way it’s written is easy to read and the different perspectives and data sources that make up this story keep the narrative interesting.

I also loved the characters within the book. There is some small overlap on characters, although broadly we enjoy two new perspectives in the overarching storyline. I can only hope all parties come together in the sequel and last in the trilogy, Obsidio.

It’s safe to say that I started off the year well; Gemina was a great first read of 2024, netting my first 5 star rating.

 

My Sister’s Keeper

In addition to Gemina, I carried over My Sister’s Keeper from 2023. At the beginning of the year, I was approximately a third of the way through this audiobook.

My Sister’s Keeper isn’t a type of book I would pick up very often, but I’m glad I did! I was drawn to it because of the synopsis and the question of morality over Anna and her lifelong role as a donor for her sister, Kate.

I loved how this book played out and the drama within. The end made me teary and I am so glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to pick it up. Not everybody loves the ending of this book and I can understand why. However, I think it depends on what expectations you go into the book with. If you go into it looking for an answer to the morality question, then you may not get what you’re looking for. However, I think the book is about asking the question of ourselves – and that I did throughout reading.

 

The Girl in Seat 2A

I downloaded a copy of The Girl in Seat 2A published by Boldwood books via NetGalley. I have reviewed multiple Boldwood books through Rachael’s Random Resources tours before, and this book caught my eye.

The Girl in Seat 2A has an interesting storyline and I enjoyed the wider plot. I confess that I didn’t love the main character Jade, but that is because we are very unlike each other. I struggled to relate to her as a person, and also her circumstances, meaning that I could only invest so much into her.

Hers is not the only perspective in this book though, and it’s that second perspective that made the book for me. I also enjoy how the plot really starts to come together from this alternate perspective and the action and drama was fun to read.

If you’re interested to read my full thoughts on this book, you can find my review here.

 

Betrothal and Betrayal

Another reading obligation to include in today’s monthly wrap-up post is my read of Betrothal and Betrayal as part of a blog tour I took part in mid-month.

Betrothal and Betrayal is a fun and relatively short historical fantasy novel. With a strong, fiery, female protagonist living in a man’s world, I got everything I wanted from this book. I loved the protagonist and her unwavering resolve, despite her circumstances. She is the kind of protagonist to make a great role model for all young women, so it’s great to see represented in fiction.

I’m not going to go too far into the book here as I have already shared my review as part of the blog tour. If you want to go and see that review, I’ll provide a link here.

 

Crime and Punishment

The slowest read on January’s TBR that I include in today’s monthly wrap-up is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

And that’s not surprising. I am always slower with reading classics because I find the narrative styles differ from modern day. Until I’m used to it, there is an adjustment period. Although it took me a little longer to get into than the rest of the books on this monthly wrap-up, I still enjoyed picking it up.

In this narrative we follow the actions and fall-out of destitute student Raskolnikov murdering a moneylender. The booking itself explores mental health as that features heavily in the narrative, but also around morality of killing, and whether such actions can be washed out by any overall benefit to society as a consequence.

That is a very brief and probably not the best summary of the book, but it’s the best I can do with limited paragraph space!

 

Unmasked

The second audiobook I picked up in the month of January was Unmasked by Ellie Middleton. This is also the first non-fiction book I have picked up this year. If the rest are as good as this one, then I’m in for a good year!

The primary focus of Unmasked is about Ellie’s experience of late diagnoses of ADHD and autism. However, the book also takes an objective view of these neurodivergent conditions, as well as others, to educate readers about what it is like to interpret the world differently. Not only that, but the book explores how those who are neurodivergent are often discriminated against, and what steps we can take in society to be more accepting and accommodating.

I picked up this book to understand more about neurodivergence in general. I was surprised to find that I could relate to some of the traits of autism. That’s not to say I have autism, but it helped me appreciate overall how difficult it must be to grow up with these differences… especially if you grow up undiagnosed as most women do.

It was an eye-opening read, and if you’re interested in the subject, I would strongly recommend picking up Unmasked. I especially enjoyed listening to the audiobook as Ellie narrates this herself.

 

Sword of Vengeance

The last reading obligation I picked up in January that our feature on this monthly wrap-up post is Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons. You won’t yet have seen the review for this book on my blog as it is going live tomorrow.

To date, I have enjoyed following along with the series and I’ve reviewed 2 out of the 3 prior books in the series as part of blog tours. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this fourth book of the series tomorrow. In summary, the book was everything I expected it to be based on the high expectations from reading the earlier books in the series. Again, there is a lot of action in this book, as well as underlying political intrigue which I love to read about.

I hope you can stay tuned for my review tomorrow!

 

The Black Coats

As of this monthly wrap-up post, I’m currently reading The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes and I’m 40% into the book.

It’s an enjoyable read so far and I’m loving the feminist take. I can see the action only picking up from where I’m up to, so I think I’ll have the book finished within another day or two! If you want to find out more about this book, I’ll be talking about it in more detail in the coming days. 

 

The Atlas Six

My next ongoing read at month-end is The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. As of writing this post, I’m just over 2 hours into this nearly 17 hour long book. For the stats nerds, that’s about 13%. Unlucky for some, but not me!

I’ve only really gotten introduced to the characters and basic premise so far, but I’m intrigued. There’s definitely a lot to be explored in the narrative. I’m also glad I went for audio; each character is separately cast, making it easier to follow who is who. I love the different voices and styles as well – it adds a layer of interest.

Given that I’m not too far into the book, there isn’t really much I can say right now. This is one to stay tuned to my blog for!

 

Summary

I needed to read 5 books to stay on target of 60 books by the end of the year. I let the new year excitement get away with me in setting 10 books. However, I think having a longer reading list has encouraged me to read a little more this month. It doesn’t always work this way, but it’s working at the moment!

Next month’s TBR is going to look much the same – there’s always more to read! If you’re interested to see that list, I’ll share my February TBR on Saturday! Stay tuned for that!

In the meantime, what are you reading?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Sunday Summary – 28th January 2024

Good evening gang – it’s time for another Sunday Summary update. Why do the weeks just fly by? Next week is the start of February already; I honestly don’t know where January has gone! Before getting to the books I’ve read over the course of the week, let’s do a cheeky recap of the posts I’ve shared so far.

My first post of the week was a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that, I shared ten books I didn’t get to in 2023. This wasn’t so much a *top* ten as a list of ten that I just about scraped together!

On Friday I shared my first First Lines Friday post of the year. I didn’t set myself a challenge for that, so when it came to drafting it I decided to feature an opening from a favourite read of 2023. If you missed that post there’s a link above. Can you guess from the clues in the introduction what the book is?


Books Read


Crime and Punishment

As of last week’s Sunday Summary, I had read 484 pages, or just under 75%, of Crime and Punishment.

With the end in sight, I ploughed on and completed the book on Tuesday. Although it took me a little longer to read than other books I’ve picked up so far this month, I did enjoy Crime and Punishment. It was the book I expected it to be based on the synopsis and it was an interesting read. If you are unaware, the narrative explores the actions of a destitute young student who commits murder, and then struggles with his mental health and dealing with the consequences of his actions.

I am usually slower with reading classics, because of the difference in writing style and language. However, I’m glad that I’m finally able to take this one off my list as read!

 

Unmasked

I was just under half way through Unmasked as of last week’s Sunday Summary. Once again, I’ve made a good deal of progress and listened to the remaining three hours and change this week, taking me to 100% completion.

I really enjoyed Unmasked. I initially wanted to listen to the audio to understand how neurodivergence is such as autism and ADHD may affect people. Did I think I would relate to some of the symptoms or experiences as I did? No, but there we go!

If you are interested in the subject, Unmasked is written in such an approachable way that you can read as much or as little of this book as you want. It’s also a book you can go back to and read certain chapters of again. It’s well structured, comprehensive, and written very well. I also like that the audiobook is narrated by the author herself; Ellie talks a lot of her own experiences as a neurodivergent in this book, and it wouldn’t feel right to hear these narrated by someone else. It felt much more authentic coming from Ellie herself.


Sword of Vengeance

After reading the first chapter of Sword of Vengeance a couple of weeks ago at a hairdressers appointment, I picked up the book in earnest this week.

Sword of Vengeance is the fourth book in Peter Gibbons’ Saxon Warrior series. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I have been following reading and reviewing the series as part of organised blog tours. See my reviews of Warrior and Protector and Brothers of the Sword here. This fourth book is no exception. If you are interested in the series, I will be reviewing this book next week – you can find out more about when below.

Sword of Vengeance picks up where we left off after the events of Maldon and the tragic battle that took place at the end of book three. I won’t want to go into too much detail on that so I don’t spoil that third book. What I can say is that events unfold from there and once again we are thrown into a narrative of action and intrigue.

Sword of Vengeance was everything I have come to expect having read the earlier books in the series. I enjoyed the plotline and the introduction of new characters, as well as the return of favourites. If you enjoy historical fiction, and in particular, reading battle scenes, Sword of Vengeance will not disappoint you.


What next?

It’s unusual that I have to feature a section with this title, as I am rarely writing a Sunday Summary being in between books.

I generally have a couple of reads on the go, one physical or e-book, and one audiobook. I am finally getting to The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes in e-book format, which was my December TBR Jar pick. For my audiobook choice, I will be listening to The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake. Stay tuned to find out more about my reading progress and thoughts on these books over the next week!


Books Discovered

No news is good news once again this week! I’m down to 196 books on my Goodreads to-read shelf… which sadly is the lowest it’s been for a while!


Coming Up…

Next week we are in the realms of month-end. That means that it’s time to share my monthly wrap-up post for January, as well as my monthly TBR for February.

In order to accommodate those, my blogging schedule is going to be out of sync. Normally I try to post consistently throughout the week. However, with the timing of month-end and other obligations, I will be sharing four posts all in the second half of the week.

Starting on Thursday, I will be publishing my monthly wrap-up for January. I didn’t want to leave this post too long to share with you, so I am jumping in there at the first opportunity. Literally, the 1st haha!

My second post of the week goes live on Friday, and this is my blog tour review of Sword of Vengeance by Peter Gibbons. I’m glad I got this book finished earlier today as that gives me several days to draft my review and make sure I’m happy with it before going live with the tour on Friday.

On Saturday I’m sharing my TBR for February. Whilst I could technically share this on Monday the fifth, I feel like that would be quite late. Thankfully, I’ve already decided what my reading list will be and drawn my TBR Jar pick. It’s going to be another busy month… put it that way!

Then, last but not least, I’m back again to round off the week with another Sunday Summary update! In that post, I’ll recap the books I’ve read in the last seven days and update you with any books I’ve added to my reading list. Finally, I’ll share what’s coming up on the blog.

 

Summary

I hope you check out my upcoming posts as they are published. In the meantime, that is all from me in today’s post. Have a fantastic week however you spend it!

If you are reading right now, what book have you picked up? Are you enjoying it? Will you recommend it?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads

Sunday Summary – 21st January 2024

Happy Sunday everyone and welcome to this week’s instalment of Sunday Summary. If you are unfamiliar, I take the time every week to update you on the books I’ve been reading, the blog posts I’ve shared with you, and finally what to expect in the coming week.

This week reading progress has been slower, but this isn’t unexpected. I’ll share more on that below. First, let’s recap the blog posts I shared earlier this week.

So far I have shared not one, but two book reviews with you. The first of these book reviews was for The Girl in Seat 2A by Diana Wilkinson. Technically, this review was due second, but based on timing I decided to publish this earlier than the book’s publication date.

On Thursday, I shared my review of Betrothal and Betrayal by Janet McGiffin. This was part of a blog tour and so I had to publish on this on this set date. I already established in last week’s Sunday Summary that I had a great time with this book. If you want to check out my full thoughts, here is a link to that review so you can check it out for yourself.

 

Books Read

 

Crime and Punishment

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I left off having made 132 pages of progress into Crime and Punishment. As this is a classic and is one of the oldest books on my list in terms of publication date, I knew the narrative style was going to be clunkier. I fully anticipated reading progress to slow down with this book, so I’m not surprised that it has.

That said, I have made more progress in the last 24 hours than anticipated. I’ve been able to pick up the speed, either because the narrative is getting good or because I’m getting used to the style. I’m not sure which. Either way, I’m now 484 pages into the narrative which equates just under 75%. Now I’m coming towards the end of the book, I imagine the quicker reading pace will continue. I’ll share more about how I get on in next week’s post.

 

Unmasked

I listened to a further hour and 10 minutes of Unmasked by Ellie Middleton yesterday. This takes my reading progress of this book to just under half as of this Sunday Summary.

I really like how this book is structured and covers each of the topics within. It’s also proved easy to pick up again even though I probably haven’t made any progress in it for about a week.

It’s a really interesting audio and I would recommend anybody with interest in autism, ADHD or other forms of neurodivergence to give it a look. In the more recent chapters I’ve listened to, the narrative explores how different conditions may show up in real life. Particularly, I liked how it covered ways that symptoms differ from society expectations. I’m looking forward to seeing how the topics are explored further in the second half of the book.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added nothing new to my reading list this week, which is as well given it constantly seems to hover at the same level and never go down!

 

Coming Up…

On Tuesday I plan to share my first Top Ten Tuesday of the year. This week’s topic is Books I meant to Read in 2023 but didn’t get to. I have a variety of books to share that fall into this bracket! Stay tuned for more on those next week.

On Friday I’m back with a First Lines Friday post. Sometimes I set myself a challenge for these posts, but I’m going to keep an open field and decide what to feature later in the week!

Lastly, I’ll be back with another Sunday Summary update this time next week. Until then I hope you have a fantastic week!

What are you reading?

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Threads