Tag: amreading

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 16th June 2019

This week’s Sunday Summary post is going to be a lot more chilled than last weeks! I hope you’ve all had a good week! I have spent the day with my parents, as I always do, but it has been extra special since it is Father’s Day today!

So, what have I been up to this week? Thankfully I have had fewer blog posts and tours to juggle this week, so I’ve been able to relax a little! My first blog post of the week was published on Wednesday, so I had a couple of day’s respite. I took part in the one-day blog blitz for The Lynmouth Stories by L. V. Hay. If you haven’t read my review of these three short stories yet, please check out the link. Suffice to say, I’ve added her debut novel to the TBR as a result of reading these.

On Friday, I published my next Down the TBR Hole post. I’m not posting these all that regularly (around once a month), so I have reverted to reviewing ten books at a time. I need to get through the list somehow!

I’ve also spent a bit of time on proofreading exercises. I’m hoping to have a stab at my first assessment of the course shortly, so I’ve been getting the practice in! I feel a lot more confident now I’ve done some more work on it.

 

Books Read

I’m quite pleased with my reading progress again this week! Last Sunday I was reading Biohacked and Begging by Stephen Oram and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. Neither of these books lasted all that long.

From there, I picked up Three: Deception Love Murder by K. J. McGillick. I’ve read a few books of hers now and I’m really enjoying them. The combination of the criminal activity and the art world is one that comes up across her books, and it’s clear she knows a LOT about the subject.

In addition to the above, I have picked up a second non-scripted book. I made such good progress with the short stories at the beginning of the month that I have time to do so! A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of Crowfall, courtesy of Gollancz, to read and review. It didn’t even make it to the bookshelf because I knew I couldn’t resist. It’s been sat on my table taunting me since I received it. Last night, I caved in and started it! I have no regrets!

Lastly, I finished my audiobook this week! I listen to them in the car on the way home from work. Now that the TT racing has come to an end, things have calmed down and the fanatics have gone home, I’ve not needed to be switched onto the radio.

 

Books Discovered

As I mentioned above, I have added one book to my ‘discovered’ list this week. After reading The Lynmouth Stories, I would like to read L. V. Hay’s debut novel, The Other Twin.

 

Coming Up…

It’s been a little while since I reviewed an audiobook, so next week I am going to be reviewing Scythe by Neal Shusterman. Since I finished this about two months ago, it’s about time I finally committed my thoughts down to… well, not paper, but you know.

I want to trial a new post later this week. I have been tempted to try a First Lines Friday post as a way of (hopefully) introducing people to new books. To that end, I’m going to give it a go! Depending on how well it’s received, I might start making it a regular feature.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Books Love Readers Blog – Blog Tour – Once A Liar by A F Brady

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: The Lynmouth Stories – L. V. Hay

For the second time this month I’m featuring a blog tour post for a collection of short stories. A huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

 

The Lynmouth Stories

Purchase Linkhttp://myBook.to/LynmouthStories

 

Beautiful places hide dark secrets …

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

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

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

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

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

Did You Know …?

Known as England’s ‘Little Switzerland’, the Devon village of Lynmouth is famous for its Victorian cliff railway, fish n’ chips and of course, RD Blackmore’s Lorna Doone.

Located on the doorstep of the dramatic Valley of The Rocks and the South West Cliff Path, the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth have inspired many writers, including 19th Century romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who honeymooned there in 1812.

PRAISE FOR L V HAY:

‘Well-written, engrossing & brilliantly unique’- Heat World

‘Prepare to be surprised by this psychological mystery’- Closer

‘Sharp, confident writing, as dark and twisty as the Brighton Lanes’- Peter James

‘Prepare to be seriously disturbed’ – Paul Finch

‘Crackles with tension’ – Karen Dionne

‘An original, fresh new voice in crime fiction’  – Cal Moriarty

‘The writing shines from every page of this twisted tale’- Ruth Dugdall

‘I couldn’t put it down’ –  Paula Daly

‘An unsettling whirlwind of a novel with a startlingly dark core’ – The Sun

‘An author with a fresh, intriguing voice and a rare mastery of the art of storytelling’ – Joel Hames

 

My Thoughts…

If you’re looking for a short crime fiction story or two to see you on your way to work, or to enjoy with a quiet cup of coffee, then The Lynmouth Stories are right up your alley! Set in the rural tourist town of Lynmouth, Devon, the location each tale is set in is about all they have in common. One thing is for sure, L. V. Hay sets such a dark and sinister atmosphere that I definitely won’t be visiting unless it’s peak tourist season…

These stories are really short; I managed to read all three in around half an hour. Even though each they aren’t all that long, there is no lack of character, plot and setting the scene. To pack in such detail into a narrative so concisely is a skill (and one I envy). I read these in-between collections of short stories with other themes. Touching base with a genre that I really enjoy reading is refreshing.

The Lynmouth Stories aren’t the only short stories I am reading this month – I’m actually making a bit more effort to read some. I tend to read longer books with complex plot lines and a whole host of characters in them. Having said that though, I’ve enjoyed The Lynmouth Stories because trying something new is fun!

Reading shorts like The Lynmouth Stories is also a great way of discovering new authors. Based on these tales, I’ve added her debut novel, The Other Twin to my TBR. The author’s approachable writing style is one that I could read for hours.

 

Author Bio –

Lucy V Hay is a script editor for film and an author of fiction and non-fiction. Publishing as LV Hay, Lucy’s debut crime novel, The Other Twin, is out now and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspaper, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine. Her second crime novel, Do No Harm, is an ebook bestseller. Her next title is Never Have I Ever for Hodder Books.

Social Media Links –

www.twitter.com/LucyVHayAuthor

www.facebook.com/LucyHayB2W

www.instagram.com/LucyVHayAuthor

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 9th June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

 

Books Read

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

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

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

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

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

 

Books Discovered

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

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

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

 

Coming Up…

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

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

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

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

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

The Orangutan Librarian – Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – June

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

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

 

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Blog Tour Review: Game of Crones – Jay Raven

Today’s blog tour post is for a series of deliciously dark short stories, revolving around powerful, mystical powers and the women that wield them.

Game of Crones: Tales of Witchcraft and Wickedness

 

Welcome to a world of cruelty, hexes and treachery, where malicious magic rules and you are but a single necromancer’s spell away from eternal terror.

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

Amongst the haunting historical horror stories, you’ll meet:

  • A half-crazed girl locked up in a high security mental hospital by those accusing her of causing a devastating earthquake.
  • An impoverished French noblewoman who’ll stop at nothing to marry her daughter to a wealthy prince – even if it means dabbling with a dangerous love potion.
  • The hated public executioner Pandora whose fabled box has already killed 55 men – without leaving a trace of violence on their bodies.
  • Wily witch Merta who uses all her wits and trickery to turn the tables on the corrupt Mayor who wants her burnt alive at the stake.
  • A faery mage without conscience or pity with the perfect plan to make Mankind turn on itself – and all it takes is one innocent baby.
  • A drought-stricken frontier town that seeks magical help from the local Indian tribe to make it rain, but learns it comes at a terrible cost.
  • The doubt-ridden King, plagued by nightmares of his death, who consults an enchantress to learn the most of hidden of secrets: just when the Grim Reaper will claim him.
  • A Mid Western widow who is convinced her homesteading husband is still alive, held hostage by a sorceress.

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

Purchase Links:      Amazon US      Amazon UK

 

My Thoughts…

After briefly starting this before bed one night, I read 90% of this book in one sitting the following day. That’s how quick and enjoyable it is! I’m not really in the habit of reading short stories. Saying that, I am giving several a try this month. I dabble in a little bit of writing, so reading a variety of short stories will only be of a benefit to me.

Each story is nice and short, easy to read and distinctly different from each other. We meet a variety of characters, but the one thing they all have in common is a woman able to wield supernatural powers over us mere mortals with terrifying consequences. As I started each new tale, I couldn’t wait to see how events unfolded! I couldn’t anticipate how each story was going to end. A few of the stories are almost fable-like, with a lesson in the morality of seeking out such power…or meddling with the wrong person!

The setting of each story was completely different to the next, which makes each individual story memorable from the other. The women themselves also come from different backgrounds; some are revered, others reviled and some are living right under your nose.

This is a really enjoyable quick read! I recommend this to anyone who loves witchcraft, sorcery or sinister tales with unexpected endings… Based on these, I’ll certainly be making more of an effort to pick up short stories for a refreshing read!

 

Author Bio

 

Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.

If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy free short stories and access exclusive giveways and competitions, please subscribe to Jay’s monthly newsletter on his website at www.jayraven.co.uk

Social Media Links –

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

Twitter: @JayRavenAuthor

Website: www.jayraven.com

 

 

Book Review Banner

Book Review: The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King

One of the first books I picked up last month was The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. I read The Gunslinger back in June 2017 – TWO YEARS AGO?! – I really wanted to get back to the series after such a long break!

 

Goodreads – The Drawing of the Three

 

While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland, the last gunslinger, encounters three mysterious doorways on the beach. Each one enters into the life of a different person living in contemporary New York.

Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean and the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies.

Once again, Stephen King has masterfully interwoven dark, evocative fantasy and icy realism.

 

My Thoughts…

The Drawing of the Three has a completely different feel to The Gunslinger. That kinda worked for me though. In the first book, we come to learn a lot about Roland and his history, the Dark Tower and his quest to reach it. Consequently, we spent a lot of time venturing through his world. The Drawing of the Three differs from that completely! Instead, we flit between Roland’s homeworld and a modern-day version of New York.

Roland seeks supporters in his quest to the Tower and fight against the dark. Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes’ lives change completely when Roland barges into their reality. Each with their own demons, Roland has his work cut out for him if he wants them fighting fit on his side, especially since he could be dying himself.

The Drawing of the Three has a greater emphasis on characters, in my opinion. That may be the nature of the book, as Roland doesn’t actually seem to get that far in terms of his quest. I enjoyed the inclusion of the additional characters. Overall, they give the narrative more depth. No man can achieve everything by himself after all.

Eddie and Odetta haven’t had the easiest lives so far – Eddie has grown up with drugs as his crutch. Both he and his brother are in deep when Roland drags him out of that dark cycle. Odetta’s struggles are borne from an ‘accident’ that took her legs years before. Her challenges aren’t just physical though – the psychological trauma that accompanies it has scarred her more in the long run.

Watching each character fight their own battles (with a little help from one another) is entertaining, but more importantly, incredibly and hauntingly realistic. Only once they have put their own demons to rest can they face even greater darkness – The Dark Tower. I cannot wait to read the next book. Stephen King is one of my favourite authors and I am glad he has dipped into the fantasy genre. I won’t be waiting two years to read the next one, that’s for sure!

 

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Reading List – June 2019

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

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

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

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

 

A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Game of Crones – Jay Raven

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

The Lynmouth Stories – L. V. Hay

 

Beautiful places hide dark secrets …

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Biohacked and Begging – Stephen Oram

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Three – K. J. McGillick

 

Betrayal. Deceit. Danger. Murder.

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Storms over Babylon – Jennifer Macaire

 

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

 

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

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

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd June 2019

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

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

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

 

Books Read

 

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

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

 

Books Discovered

 

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

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

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

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

 

Coming Up…

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

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

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

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

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

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

Abigail’s Books – WWW Wednesday

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

 

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Book Review: The Watcher of Dead Time – Edward Cox

Today, I am really looking forward to sharing my honest thoughts with you all about the final book of an amazing trilogy. Before I was offered a copy of the series by Gollancz in exchange for a review, I’ll freely admit that I hadn’t heard of Edward Cox before. The Relic Guild series has made a huge impression on me… so much so that Edward Cox has been added to the small list of authors I’ll auto-buy books for.

Quite an impression, wouldn’t you agree?

If you haven’t read my reviews of The Relic Guild or The Cathedral of Known Things, please take a minute to check these out!

 

The Watcher of Dead Time

Goodreads – The Watcher of Dead Time

 

Labrys Town, home to a million humans cut off from the rest of the universe, has been invaded. Those who protected it have been deposed.

The Relic Guild are scattered across the worlds of the Aelfir. Many of them are dead or dying. The Genii control everything. The war is almost over.

Clara, a young woman barely able to control her werewolf side, has seen her friends and mentors killed in front of her. She is the last hope for Labrys Town.

But someone else is watching…

The dramatic conclusion to the award-nominated fantasy trilogy which began with THE RELIC GUILD.

 

My Thoughts…

There are so many amazing things that I really enjoyed about this series that I don’t really know where to begin! The world-building, magic system, characters – each is unique, refined and complements the other. They work together to build a detailed, cohesive narrative that flows and lulls us on to read the ever-famous “just one more chapter”.

First, let’s talk about the world-building! The concept of the Labyrinth and its history is unlike anything I have ever heard of before. Built to serve as a neutral place for warring houses, Labrys Town becomes a sought-after weapon. Each House is separated by what is called the Nothing of the Far and Deep, (which in my head I equate to something similar to Space) but portals can link these Houses and Labrys Town together. After narrowly neutralising the threat 40 years ago, most of Labrys Town’s portals have been deactivated. They are cut off from all houses but one. However, that puts them in more danger further down the line… Genii, powerful magickers strive to take over the Labyrinth.

The rich history of the world really shines through throughout the trilogy.

The entire narrative is split between two timelines, the first during the first Genii War and the second forty years later. Each timeline concludes in this final instalment. Whilst in the latter timeline we have a vague idea of how the war ended previously, there are enough secrets kept to make that ending just as exciting as the present day conclusion! Each timeline is also written cleverly so as to be well-distinguishable from the other. There are many overlapping characters in both timelines, but there are also enough subtle differences to serve as a reminder.

There is such a diverse range of characters that there is someone for every reader to relate to. Clara is new to the Relic Guild, having endeavoured to hide her power of transforming into a werewolf. She is the first Magicker in forty years. Through her we get to learn the history of the Relic Guild and their sacrifices for the residents in the Labrys Town. The veteran Magickers are easy to warm to as well. Despite their struggles to win an impossible war, we cannot forget how human and vulnerable they are. Old Man Sam, a mistrustful sharpshooter and Marney, whose power is empathic, are my favourite characters. I’m not one for gushy romance, but even I lamented the loss of Marney’s potential relationship with Van Bam.

The Watcher of Dead Time has a brilliantly immersive narrative. I was eager to see how events in both timelines reached their conclusions. Alternately switching between then and now keeps a steady momentum, but the chapter lengths aren’t so short that this becomes chaotic.

What’s next…

Once again, a huge thank you to both Gollancz and Edward Cox for the opportunity to read and review this amazing series! It’s the first series I have been sent in entirety to review and I am really glad I have!

I expect great things from Edward Cox, if The Relic Guild is anything to go by! I’ve already been looking ahead to see if he has any other works in the pipeline, and I wasn’t disappointed! The Song of the Sycamore is expected to be published in August this year! I can guarantee I’ll be picking this one up for sure!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – A Game of Thrones Characters

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

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

 

10.   Tormund Giantsbane

Source: HBO

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

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

 

 

9.   Brienne of Tarth

Source: HBO

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

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

 

8.   Littlefinger

Source: HBO

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

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

 

7.   Samwell Tarly

Source: HBO

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

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

 

6.   Olenna Tyrell

Source: HBO

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

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

 

5.   Cersei Lannister

Source: HBO

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

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

 

4.   Jon Snow

Source: HBO

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

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

 

3.   Daenerys Targaryen

Source: HBO

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

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

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

 

2.   Arya Stark

Source: HBO

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

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

 

1.   Tyrion Lannister

Source: HBO

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

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

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

 

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

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 26th May 2019

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

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

 

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

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

 

Books Read

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

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

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

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

 

Books Discovered

 

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

 

Coming Up…

 

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

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

 

Top Blog Posts of The Week

A Frolic Through Fiction – Thank you!!

 

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