Tag: amreading

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd December 2018

Hey everyone!! Are you having a lovely weekend? I sure have! Not only have I already had my work Christmas party… I’ve also been putting up various decorations at home and for family. It’s official – Christmas is on the way!

 

 

Last week’s Sunday Summary was a little late, so I only published one post this week – a Throwback Thursday review of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle books. As a young teenager, I really enjoyed Eragon and Eldest, but I still DNF’d the series. If you want to find out why you can check it out in my post!

 

Books Read

I finished it! My 2nd re-read of A Game of Thrones is done! As I expected, I really enjoyed reading this again. I find that it is good to go back to the beginning sometimes to refresh your knowledge… especially for a series as epic in size as this one!

I have also made further progress with I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. This book is so funny and I can see all the general antics and mishaps happening to me if I have kids. I really can. It’s just the right sense of humour I need at the moment.

I have made a start on Facing a Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick. It is a book that I am blog touring on really soon too, and I am going to have to cram read some of this tonight in order to get the post together. I have already made good headway and it isn’t a heavy read, so I can do it.

 

Books Discovered

I actually added this book to my Goodreads to-read list a couple of weeks ago, but forgot to tell you all! Shameful, I know. Originally I saw a later book of this series advertised somewhere. From that, I opted to look at Limelight to see where Penny Green’s story begins; a murder of a woman who reportedly died years ago? I’m in for that.

 

Coming Up…

This week is going to be pretty busy blog wise! As I mentioned above, I have a blog tour for Facing A Twisted Judgment coming up soon. Tuesday, in fact. Yes, it’s that soon, so I need to get reading to finish that one!

As it is also the beginning of a new month I’ll be putting together a reading list for the month! I decided to try a new approach in November and not restrict my reading to a set list so much. I’m not entirely decided as to how well that’s working at the moment. I only read one of the two books I set out to, as well as part reading a couple of others. That said, this month was disrupted by a trip away. Things haven’t been the greatest at work either. I’m not writing off the approach yet – I think I need to give it another go.

How has your week been? Are we feeling festive yet?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 25th November 2018

Hi guys!

So, some of you may have noticed that I didn’t publish a Sunday Summary post last week. More than likely… no one noticed at all! That’s okay though, I spent some great time with family and got some Christmas shopping done!

Yes, I said it. Christmas. Shopping.

I may have bought myself one or two things whilst away… you know, strictly one or two.

 

I am also a little late in publishing this one. Sorry guys! Unless you have a death wish, going back into the office without treats after a holiday is a dangerous affair. It’s all stares and disgruntled mutterings but you just know you have that black mark against your name. In fairness, it hasn’t been a great week there (not because I wasn’t there – I don’t think THAT MUCH of myself), so I decided to do the best thing I could and baked.

You can see the picture on my instagram – they went down a treat at work. Brownie points for Rebecca!

 

So, personal life antics aside… what else have I been up to?

Well, skipping back over the last couple of weeks, I published a review of Frankenstein that was much overdue. I found myself in a little bit of a writing slump, so I can’t say I’m overly thrilled with the review. It passes (I hope)… but it certainly isn’t my finest work.

I also put together a review for Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor! Whilst I was away I had a couple of hours to myself… so I put them to good use. I really enjoyed reading Muse of Nightmares because there is so much more to it than Strange the Dreamer. I expected the book to be different, I’ll add, but the actual story is far better than I could have EVER imagined. Read it. Seriously.

After getting back home from my jollidays, (yes, I really did just say that) I decided to review the TBR again in another Down the TBR Hole post. It’s the sort of thing that you really need to keep on top of, so I like to chip away at it. By that, I really mean that I try to break even. I keep adding new books to the list all the time!

 

Books Read

My time off work this month has been a lot busier than last month, so I haven’t gotten as much reading done. I have made more progress with reading A Game of Thrones. Having looked back at my last Sunday Summary post, I’ve actually read more than I thought! I have jumped from just less than 50% to 88%. I managed to fit a bit of reading in whilst commuting on my trip, but never really for any length of time. Since I have nearly finished this book, I am going to try to finish it tonight – tomorrow at the latest!

Before my trip away, I was also reading Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski. I don’t really feel I have made a lot of progress with this book so far. I’m finding the pacing to be a little slow at the moment, but it should pick up in time. I haven’t actually touched this book since my return yet; I’ll have another bash at it once A Game of Thrones is ticked off the list.

In the times where a lighter read was required, I have been reading I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. I have actually read part of this book before; I borrowed it from my school library years ago! It definitely has the laugh out loud humour I’ve needed. The other two books make for quite heavy reading, so needing a break is not unreasonable. I don’t normally read contemporaries/women’s literature. I have to be in the mood for it. I’ve managed just over a hundred pages last week alone, so that isn’t such bad going either.

 

Books Discovered

My self-imposed book ban is now OVER!!!! Thank goodness for that! I was restraining myself knowing that November was going to be an expensive month. Now it’s over, I can spend however much I like on books hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

Obviously, that’s a lie. I haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet so I shouldn’t celebrate too early. But, I don’t have flights, hotels, food and spending money to worry about… so I can breathe a little easier.

On Tuesday, the last day of my trip, I decided to use some of my leftover budget to get myself a copy of Fire and Blood. It was publishing Day and half price. The illustrations are beautiful and so is Martin’s writing. I’d have to be daft not too!

 

Coming Up…

It will be good to finally get things back on track! Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time! I hope to be able to go away and see my sister again before too long. But, it’s nice to get back to the familiar, to get back into routine.

So, what am I posting on my blog this week? Well, this week I want to write another Throwback Thursday Review. I started this series so I had the chance to feature books read prior to starting my blog. They have all played their part in making me the bookworm I am today, so it makes sense to make a space for them here. This week’s post will be a mixed review because it is a series I loved initially, but have stopped reading.

 

In terms of reading progress, I am pushing to finish A Game of Thrones tonight. At the latest, I want to finish this tomorrow.  I am also going to try and finish I Don’t Know How She Does It, because I need to start my next read for an upcoming Blog Tour.

How has your week been? What have you been reading?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 11th November 2018

Evening all! Today’s Sunday Summary post is being written in a little haste, so I apologise if it doesn’t live up to the usual standard. I don’t really know what’s happened this week, but it’s just felt a little topsy turvy.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I like having a bit of routine. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with that, but it throws you off the minute the routine is out of the window. This week is one of those, unfortunately.

I promised to post two reviews this week – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. Neither of these happened, and for that I am sorry. I have drafted a review for Frankenstein – I’ve stared at my screen for three nights this week to put it together. I am still not happy with it. That’s why I haven’t published it. I also didn’t want to start writing a review for Muse of Nightmares without finishing Frankenstein. It muddles my head doing that.

Even tonight, I would normally dedicate my time to writing my Sunday Summary post, but instead, I am baking for a charity cake sale at work tomorrow. Half of this post was written this morning ready. You can tell I’m not a baker. My victoria sponge is taking longer to cook than I anticipated and I am literally sat on the edge of my seat, paranoid about leaving it longer. Fingers crossed it turns out okay!

 

Books Read

This week I have been focusing on reading more of A Game of Thrones. As with things going out of the window, my original plan to finish Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski didn’t happen. Next week, I promise. Honestly! Still, I made a lot of progress with A Game of Thrones though. It’s a long book and now I’m just shy of 50% through!

 

Books Discovered

I’m still on my book ban. I’m surprised I have managed to stick to it too! Maybe being busy has helped; if I don’t see books I want I can’t buy them, right?

 

Coming Up…

I am going to fulfill the promises I made earlier last week. I’m going to give myself a kick up the behind and get my review of Frankenstein published! I am nearly there, so it shouldn’t take too much work to complete.

I’ll also publish my review of Muse of Nightmares. I won’t struggle to review this book at all – I think I could gush about it all day!

In addition to these posts,  I want to draft another post in anticipation of next week. Why? Well, I am taking another trip to visit family and I won’t be back until Wednesday. I need to fill the void somehow. My going away means that there won’t be a Sunday Summary post next week! Sorry guys! Hopefully I will have a massive update for you all when I get back!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 4th November 2018

Good evening ladies and gents! It’s time for another Sunday Summary post, in which I reflect on a very busy week!

This will be my fourth post of the week; normally I don’t schedule in so many posts, but a couple of reviews and a new reading list for the month were all due at the same time. It has been fun, although I can practically see steam coming off my hands from typing so much!

On Monday I posted my review of The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn. The author kindly offered me a copy of the book in exchange for review; it’s been the first direct request I have had for a little while, so it made a refreshing change to read.

Then, on Wednesday I shared my (very short) TBR for the month. It’s not that I am not planning on reading this month… don’t be silly. That would be like telling me not to breathe! This month, I decided to give myself a little more freedom in the books I read as opposed to a full, set list.

Friday was my stop on the Blog Tour for Another Kind of Magic, the third and final book of the Caitlin series by Elizabeth Davies. As an avid reader of historical fiction and a great lover of magic, this series was a treat for me. If you haven’t read any of these books, please go and read my reviews… or better yet, give them a try! If you do, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

 

Books Read

Following on from last week’s Sunday Summary post, I began the week by finishing reading The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich. I reviewed Copper Sky, another of Milana’s books back in March this year. After doing so, Milana kindly asked if I would accept a copy of The Swan Keeper to read and review at a later date. Naturally, I accepted. I really enjoyed both the plot and the characters.

Also featuring today (and in my Sunday Summary post last week) is Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski. I confess though I have read less of this book than last week. I have made some progress here, so I include it, but not a lot. The majority of my time has been spent on another book this week.

A Game of Thrones – how I love this series! I have already read this book twice over, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s the kind of treasure you could never get bored of. A Game of Thrones is one of two books I have set myself the task of reading this month; considering its size and the fact that I only started reading this on Thursday, I’m impressed that I’m already 25% through. I can, and have, literally sat with this book for hours. I look forward to many more!

There is something else. The desperate urge to include a GoT pun in this post is overwhelming. I apologise in advance.

I decided to take a little break from the book last night by taking up a hobby I haven’t really touched in a year or so. Given that my current woolly hat is a little old, used and is showing its age, I decided to test my crochet skills by making one! I haven’t made anything in a while, but I found a reasonably simple pattern online and I started to make it. Why? Well the answer is simple.

Wait for it…

Source: Giphy

 

I SAID I’M SORRY – Okay!!

But I’m not really…

 

Books Discovered

So, this is one of those rare weeks when I literally have nothing to say in this section! As I think I mentioned in a previous Sunday Summary post, I am on a book ban.

Why do I do this to myself?

 

Coming Up…

Although I had a fabulous week with lots of posts, I’m scaling back to my usual schedule next week. It gives me enough breathing space to produce some decent content.

So, what posts can you expect? Well, I am going to post two reviews this week, because I have a few to catch up on!

At the end of September, I attended an event as part of the local Manx Litfest – a storytelling of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I adored the show so much that I picked up the book as soon as I got home. I’m not even kidding. I had read the book just shy of ten years ago at school, but I wanted to read it again and form a second opinion. To that end, I am going to be sharing my thoughts with you about my re-reading of this book.

 

 

 

 

My second review of the week is going to be for a book I devoured in a matter of days. Muse of Nightmares – what a fabulous read this was! I could read both Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares all over again.

Don’t encourage me, seriously.

Naturally, I’ll conclude the week in the usual manner.

 

 

 

Instead, let’s talk about what I SHOULD be reading! I want to make more progress in reading both A Game of Thrones and Season of Storms this week. Preferably, I would like to finish SoS by Andrzej Sapkowski by the end of the week to keep momentum. A Game of Thrones is going to take longer – it’s a huge book. I’ll keep chipping away though!

 

What are you reading this week?

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies

Caitlyn is back once again for another historical adventure; embroiled in a narrative laced with political intrigue, love and devious plotting! A huge thanks to Elizabeth Davies and Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

 

Pre-Order Link: Another Kind Of Magic

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

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

At first, this mistress appears no different to any of the others Caitlyn has served – until Llewelyn captures William de Braose, and Joan falls in love, risking everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.

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

 

My Thoughts…

Magic has kept Caitlyn alive for nearly 200 years. Enthralled to the whims of another witch, she finds herself in the middle of Welsh court – almost back where she started all those years ago! Caitlyn lacks some of her previous fire for life, which is only understandable. Living for so long at the beck and call of other women willing to risk your life to better their own position must be tiresome. In timed of need, however, she really pulls herself together. She has some brilliant moments; I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at some of her antics.

Caitlyn (being Caitlyn) lands herself in some precarious situations in this last installment of the series. Her skills of discretion and subterfuge escape her and she finds herself being watched far more carefully than she would like.

There are many “minor” characters that shine through in this book. Caitlyn has a strong personality, but I find it is her relationships and interactions with others which make her so. This naturally draws attention to the other characters of the book as well as Caitlyn. They are very distinct individuals as well, so even though they only provide a supporting role, they don’t fall flat on the page.

For a while after reading A Stain on the Soul, I wondered how Elizabeth Davies was going to conclude the series. The magic binding Caitlyn, so far as we know, is absolute and powerful. Will she be freed of her burden? Will she die whilst doing the bidding of her mistress? I had so many questions and a desperate need for answers.

I got them.

Obviously, I wouldn’t be doing the book any justice if I spoil it for you. You’ll just have to read it for yourself. What I will say is that Elizabeth has, in my opinion, ended the series well. Some books can leave you walking away unsatisfied or with unanswered questions. For me, Another Kind of Magic ended as it should have; loose ends are tidied up nicely. It is rare that I can finish a series and be completely satisfied with how everything turns out… but I have.

 

If there is any higher praise I can give, I cannot find the words to express it.

It;’s a fantastic series – and once again a huge thank you to Elizabeth Davies and Rachel’s Random Resources to have had the opportunity to read it!

If you would like the chance to read the series, then there is an opportunity to enter a giveaway in which you could receive signed copies! Please see the details below:-

 

 

Giveaway – Win Tote bag and a signed paperback copy of each of the three books in the Caitlyn series. (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize

Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494152/?

 

Author Bio –

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Social Media Links –

Website – www.elizabethdaviesauthor.co.uk

Twitter  – @bethsbooks

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethDaviesAuthor/

Instagram – @elizabethdavies.author

 

 

Reading List – November 2018

November’s Reading List is going to be a slightly unusual one. Why? Well, compared with previous months, there is going to be a distinct lack of books on it! Here me out.

For over a year now I have been planning out which books I am going to read on a monthly basis; sometimes I’ll be scheduling these a couple of months in advance. The system works, I’ll give it that. I haven’t missed a deadline for blog tours or other fixed commitments.

It’s just that sometimes, (but not always), it can feel stifling.

Don’t get me wrong. I love books and reading and that hasn’t changed, but I want to try allowing myself a little more flexibility. There are moments when it feels like I am running my hobby like a military operation. In October I read three books outside of my TBR as I had the time to do so; and do you know what I enjoyed most about that? Being able to pick anything I wanted. ANYTHING!!! The freedom felt amazing!

So, I want to try something different with my TBR this month. The idea is to set only a couple of books to read now. Then, I’ll allow myself to pick up what I want, when I want it, for the rest of the month! I’m hoping I’ll read more that way. If the speed I went through books this month is anything to go by, then I expect I will. Of course, I will keep you up to date via my weekly Sunday Summary posts.

So, which books am I committing to in November?

 

The Mansions of Murder – Paul Doherty

Mansions of Murder

Goodreads – The Mansions of Murder

Synopsis

A murdered priest, a missing body, stolen treasure: Brother Athelstan tackles his most challenging investigation to date.

October, 1381. Brother Athelstan is summoned to the church of St Benet’s in Queenhithe to investigate the murder of a priest. Parson Reynaud has been found stabbed to death inside his own locked church. Other disturbing discoveries include an empty coffin and a ransacked money chest. Who would commit murder inside a holy church? Who would spirit away a corpse the night before the funeral – and who would be brave enough to steal treasure belonging to the most feared gangleader in London?

Meanwhile, the death of one of Athelstan’s parishioners reveals a shocking secret. Could there be a connection to the murdered priest of St Benet’s?

Athelstan’s investigations will lure him into the dark and dangerous world of the gangmaster known as The Flesher, whose influence has a frighteningly long reach …

 

There is a particular reason I am setting myself the task of reading this book this month. That is, it’s been outstanding a review on Netgalley for around six months now. Oops! It’s the last book I have to read and review there. I don’t really use the service anymore – I can’t say I warmed to it. Before, I was quite adamant in saying I was going to delete my account once I had fulfilled my obligations, but I’ve changed my mind. Best to keep my options open, yes? I don’t see myself using Netgalley all that frequently going forward, however.

I had actually intended to read this book back in March, but didn’t get around to it. It also made it onto July’s TBR… but guess what? It’s still unread. Not for much longer.

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Game of Thrones

Synopsis

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall.

At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

 

I have been playing around with the idea of re-reading this series for so long, I think it’s time to bite the bullet and get on with it. I don’t need to tell fans out there that the last season of the TV show airs next year. That’s my target – I want to have re-read the books by then! It’s only just shy of around 5,000 pages… no sweat…

 

Source: Giphy

 

So, that is LITERALLY all I am including on the list! I have some other books in mind – ones I have only part read and another ARC that I am all-too-aware I have had for a few months now! Once caught up with these though, I’m as free as a bird!

Fellow bloggers, how do you manage your time? Does a TBR work for you? Do you find it helpful, or can it be restricting? I’m really interested in your thoughts. Obviously we all work in different ways and I am trying to work out what is best for me right now.

 

Book Review: The Hidden Face – S. C. Flynn

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

Goodreads – The Hidden Face

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.

 

My Thoughts…

The Hidden Face is a new, promising fantasy series. In a land shaped by political conflict and the influence of a God, the setting of this novel is rich in history and warfare. The novel begins with a prophecy. Dayraven and Sunniva are tasked with protecting its secret; the timing and identity of the next Unmasking. It isn’t my favourite trope of the genre, but I can tell a lot of time and planning has gone into the development of the plot and the prophecy (past and present).

 

The prophecy in itself is unique, which does diversify it from many other books of its type.

 

There are a number of vastly different characters in The Hidden Face. They all have an interest in the prophecy in order to better their own personal positions. Each has been written well; every character’s motive is clear and their actions consistent with their current scenario. Many of these characters are only really emerging in this first book, but they still stand out as unique individuals. Furthermore, what makes them more interesting is that their history and relationships with one another turn out to be more complex than first meets the eye.

Whilst not an overly long read, I will admit that it took a little while for me to become absorbed in The Hidden Face. In order to understand current events, there is a degree of setting the scene and introducing the main players to the conflict. Once acquainted with these details I found making progress with the present storyline a lot easier.

In my opinion, I think the book would benefit from the world-building being interspersed within the narrative a little more. The early chapters of the book aren’t heavy reading, but chopping between places and characters frequently to set the scene stalls the action from getting going straightaway.

 

As I have said already though, once the story was set the action is gripping and fast-paced. I blitzed reading the rest of the book and enjoyed watching events unfold.

 

I really enjoyed the book and I think this series has a lot more to offer! A further two books are expected in the series, with the second book expected to be published mid next year.

 


About the Author…

S C Flynn was born in a small town in South West Western Australia. He has lived in Europe for a long time; first the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of his ancestors. He still speaks English with an Australian accent, and fluent Italian.

He reads everything, revises his writing obsessively and plays jazz. His wife Claudia shares his passions and always encourages him.

S C Flynn has written for as long as he can remember and has worked seriously towards becoming a writer for many years.

THE HIDDEN FACE (November 2017) is his second novel and the first in the Fifth Unmasking epic fantasy series.

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #15

It’s time for another Down the TBR hole post; it’s been a while since I last reviewed my reading list.

To recap, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

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

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next ten books on my list!

 

That Inevitable Victorian Thing – E. K. Johnston

Goodreads – That Inevitable Victorian Thing

Set in a near-future world where the British Empire was preserved, not by the cost of blood and theft but by effort of repatriation and promises kept, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendant of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.

 

When I added this book to the TBR, it is because I was enticed by the history behind the book; particularly, the influence of Victoria I’s reign.

Having read the synopsis again though, I have to admit it’s lost its appeal. I don’t deny that this will probably make for an enjoyable read for someone, I am not so sure it’s my cup of tea.

Verdict: Bin

 

Before It’s Too Late – Sara Driscoll

Goodreads – Before It’s Too Late

In this powerful K-9 crime thriller, FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her trusted search-and-rescue Labrador, Hawk, must race against the clock before a diabolical killer strikes again…

Somewhere in the Washington, D.C., area, a woman lies helpless in a box. Beneath the earth. Barely breathing. Buried alive. In Quantico, the FBI receives a coded message from the woman’s abductor. He wants to play a game with them: decipher the clues, find the grave, save the girl. The FBI’s top cryptanalysts crack the code and Special Agent Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner, Hawk, scramble to the scene of the crime. Cryptic clues lead them astray and by the time they solve the puzzle, it’s too late. But the killer’s game is far from over . . .

Soon another message arrives. Another victim is taken, and the deadly pattern is repeated–again and again. Each kidnapping triggers another desperate race against time, each with the possibility of another senseless death. That’s when Meg decides to try something drastic. Break the Bureau’s protocol. Bring in her brilliant sister, Cara, a genius at word games, to decipher the kidnapper’s twisted clues. Meg knows she’s risking her career to do it, but she’s determined not to let one more person die under her and Hawk’s watch. If the plan fails, it could bite them in the end. And if it leads to the killer, it could bury them forever . . .

 

I added this book to the list about a year ago, but this one keeps my interest! Not only do I think this would be exciting to read, but I want to know if I could figure it out if I was in Jennings’ shoes. I can totally see myself devouring this in one sitting…

Verdict: Keep

 

Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

Goodreads – Moonrise

‘They think I hurt someone.
But I didn’t. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.’

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

 

I must have added this off the back of a review because the synopsis doesn’t give away much. Rarely do I resort to reading some spoiler-free reviews for a hint.

This book written in poetry form, which I didn’t know. I’m intrigued by the subject matter, but I don’t get along with poetry and it put me off this book. I’m sorry, but I’ve changed my mind on this book too.

Verdict: Bin

 

Soul of the Fire – Terry Goodkind

Goodreads – Soul of the Fire

Richard Rahl has traveled far from his roots as a simple woods guide. Emperor of the D’Haran Empire, war wizard, the Seeker of Truth—none of these roles mean as much to him as his newest: husband to his beloved Kahlan Amnell, Mother Confessor of the Midlands.

But their wedding is the key that unlocks a spell sealed away long ago in a faraway country. Now a deadly power pours forth that threatens to turn the world into a lifeless waste.

Separated from the Sword of Truth and stripped of their magic, Richard and Kahlan must journey across the Midlands to discover a dark secret from the past and a trap that could tear them apart forever. For their fate has become inextricably entwined with that of the Midlands—and there’s no place so dangerous as a world without magic…

 

I have actually read a part of Soul of the Fire before. I discovered this series in my school library, of all places! It has been years since I last picked up any of the books though. I can remember parts of the plot, but I would benefit from a re-visit before I pick up this book again.

One thing is for sure; I will pick up this book again. One day.

Verdict: Keep

 

Mr. Mercedes – Stephen King

Goodreads – Mr Mercedes

Now an AT&T Audience Original Series

WINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
#1 New York Times bestseller! In a high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. “Mr. Mercedes is a rich, resonant, exceptionally readable accomplishment by a man who can write in whatever genre he chooses” (The Washington Post).

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

 

This book comes so highly recommended to me that I cannot say no. I have had several people say that I will enjoy this – I have no doubt I will. I love Stephen King’s writing so far. His understanding of how people think is both astounding and scary at the same time. This is a definite keeper.

Verdict: Keep

 

Gerald’s Game – Stephen King

Goodreads – Gerald’s Game

Stephen King cranks up the suspense in a different kind of bedtime story. A game of seduction between a husband and wife goes horribly awry when the husband dies. But the nightmare has just begun…

 

This book comes so highly recommended to me that I cannot say no. I have had several people say that I will enjoy this – I have no doubt I will. I love Stephen King’s writing so far. His understanding of how people think is both astounding and scary at the same time. This is a definite keeper.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Goodreads – The Bone Season

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

 

Reviews are very hit-and-miss on this book! Yes, I’ve referred to reviews again. Based on the synopsis, I’m totally on the fence. I can’t say I’m inspired based on the reviews either. Some YA fans even found this either difficult or dull, but others loved it. As I don’t read YA that often, I’m not sure how well this book is going to sit with me after all. If I am teetering one way more than the other, it’s for this book to go. Maybe I’ll come back to it in the future…

Verdict: Bin

 

A Plague of Giants – Kevin Hearne

Goodreads – A Plague of Giants

In the start of a compelling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles creates an unforgettable fantasy world of warring giants and elemental magic.

In the city of Pelemyn, Fintan the bard takes to the stage to tell what really happened the night the giants came . . .

From the east came the Bone Giants, from the south, the fire-wielding Hathrim – an invasion that sparked war across the six nations of Teldwen. The kingdom’s only hope is the discovery of a new form of magic that calls the world’s wondrous beasts to fight by the side of humankind.

 

After reading reviews of this book, I pre-ordered it straightaway. That’s how captivated I am! This is a definite keeper too! Fantasy, magic and war… who could ask for more?

Verdict: Keep

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Goodreads – Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931 by English author Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to make a utopian society that goes challenged only by a single outsider.

 

This classic has been on my list pretty much since I became a serious blogger. Taking encouragement from re-reading and enjoying 1984 and Of Mice and Men (books I studied in school and hated at the time), I decided I want to read more classics. Variety is the spice of life, so they say. Based on the subject matter, I also think there is a lot to learn and think about.

Verdict: Keep

 

A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy – Helen Rappaport

Goodreads – A Magnificient Obsession

As she did in her critically acclaimed The Last Days of the Romanovs, Helen Rappaport brings a compelling documentary feel to the story of this royal marriage and of the queen’s obsessive love for her husband – a story that began as fairy tale and ended in tragedy.

After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert’s death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.

Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama–the crucial final months of the prince’s life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen’s retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the prince’s chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.

 

Victorian history creeps up again! A Magnificent Obsession delves into far more depth about the British monarchy and their roles in history. I don’t typically read much in the way of biographies, but I think this could make for an interesting read. I also don’t know that much intimate detail of this period, so I think I could learn plenty of new things!

Verdict: Keep

So, I’ve taken three books off the list! I am surprised! I half expected that as I went on, more books would remain on the list. Why? Well, I added these books far more recently than those when I first began reviewing my TBR. The oldest books on my list were added four years ago; I expected my reading tastes from only a year ago now to be more similar.

Have you read any of the books on my list? Do you agree with my choices? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 21st October 2018

It’s Sunday night and the end of another week. Whereas in previous weeks I have been delighting in the fact that I have time off work to enjoy, rest assured karma is biting me right now. Yes, I’m back to work tomorrow.

I can hear you all laughing at me now – and good for you! I would too… were I not in my shoes.

No really, I do enjoy my job. It may come as a surprise, but working with numbers actually strikes up a good balance against my love of reading and writing my blog.

So, what have I been doing with my time off? Well, reading of course! That… and talking about books. On Wednesday I reviewed Breachers by Anthony Thomas for the Blog Tour organised by Fiery Seas Publishing. As I stated in my review, it’s one of the easiest five-star reviews I have given this year! If you haven’t taken a look at that review yet, I’d appreciate it.

On Friday, I published a long overdue review of The Relic Guild by Edward Cox. I read this book back in August, but since I have had so many blog tours on the go, I just haven’t had the time to commit my thoughts to… webpage. You get the idea. This is another positive review and a book I would really recommend for anyone who loves Fantasy (particularly magic).

I’ve also been doing a lot of work behind the scenes on my blog. When I say a lot, I mean A LOT. When I migrated my blog to a self-hosted site earlier this year, I came across problems – 260(ish) broken links to media files that didn’t import properly. Yep, it was that big a problem.

Well, those are all fixed now! It took hours of manual changes, but it’s done! I also noticed a lot of the formatting on those pre-migration posts isn’t great so I am fixing a lot of those too. That’s a work-in-progress at the moment, but less urgent. I’m pleased anyway! It’s kept me busy and I had no way of making time to fix the links otherwise.

 

Books Read

Ahead of Wednesday’s blog tour review I was due to post for Breachers, I finished reading this book on Monday. I don’t like to have things so last minute for tours. If there is one thing this worked out well for though, was keeping everything fresh in my head for the review. I think maybe I should be better at making notes as I read, or drafting reviews sooner, because on this occasion this review was incredibly easy to write!

This week also saw me return to reading The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn. I put this book down about a third of the way through last week to ensure I could review Breachers on time. Once I re-commenced reading this book, I finished it within a few days. It is a fast paced book, whilst still managing to fit in plenty of history behind the events taking place in modern day.

The next two reads this week weren’t on my list for this month. I confess I picked them up rather on impulse. First, I started reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I received an ARC of this book from Orion Books a few months ago now, in anticipation of publication in February next year. You have to get a copy. I devoured this book in less than 24 hours, no word of a lie. I am so glad I picked it up.

My next unplanned read is Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett. Yes, folks, I’m back to reading Pratchett again. I just love the Discworld series so much that I need to pick up one of these books occasionally. In borrowing an ebook copy of this title, I also got to test out my new Kindle tablet, so it’s a win-win situation really! I’m 90% though this book as we speak, but I’ll finish that tonight no sweat.

 

Books Discovered

After last week’s performance of binge buying books, I have been far more restrained.

I saw an offer for Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, advertising the e-book as only 99p for a limited time. So, I bought it. I justified it by arguing that by using by gift card balance, I wasn’t TECHNICALLY spending my actual money.

Not strictly true I know, but I needed something… okay?!

 

Coming Up…

down the tbr holeThis week I have a little breathing space on the blog tour front – yay! Haha! For a bit of a change, I have decided to take a look at my ever-growing TBR again and potentially weed out some books I no longer want to read. It feels like it’s been a while since my last post, so this is definitely overdue!

I will be posting another book review this week; however, this will be a throwback review of an old book or series. I have so many books that I’ve read before starting my blog – it doesn’t make sense to omit featuring them!

 

 

In addition to the posts I am planning on publishing this week, I’ve decided I am also going to trial setting some reading goals here. I want to see if that works for me anyway. Compared to last year, I have read quite a bit less. I know it isn’t a competition, but I feel I need a little kick up the backside encouragement some weeks. Maybe accountability might work for me!

So, tonight I am going to finish Interesting Times. I’ve already committed myself to that. In terms of reading progress, I am aiming to pick up and finish Another Kind of Magic by Elizabeth Davies. I am reviewing this book in the upcoming Blog Tour, so I want to give myself plenty of time to read this in advance (and make notes!) As the cover isn’t being revealed until the 25th October, I can’t share this with you now. You’ll just have to wait and see!

In addition to Another Kind of Magic, I am also looking to make a start on The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich. This is the last book on the list for this month; if I can manage to make a start on this by the end of the week then I’ll be in a good position to read this before the end of the month! It’ll be the first time I’ll have made it through all the books on my list in a month for a little while, not to mention the couple of extras I picked up too!

I look forward to updating you next week! Happy reading!

Book Review Banner

Book Review: The Relic Guild – Edward Cox

My review of The Relic Guild by Edward Cox feels well overdue. I mean, I read this book towards the end of August! It’s a shame in a way that I have had so many other blogging commitments, meaning I couldn’t get around to writing this before now.

Better late than never, right?

 

The Relic Guild

Goodreads – The Relic Guild

Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls a hundred feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth – and the lives of one million humans – Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

 

My Thoughts…

I received a copy of The Relic Guild from Gollancz in exchange for a review, so firstly, a huge thank you to the team. It was one of many exciting book-post packages I received this summer!

Aside from the synopsis, the first thing I look at when deciding if I like a book is the author’s narration style. It’s make-or-break for me; it always has been. I have a natural preference for books narrated in the third person. The narration is also clear and descriptive, balancing the action of the story with descriptions of the Great Labyrinth and Labrys Town etc. The narrative also interchanges between two time periods; the War, which took place forty years previous and the present day. Chapters for each respective time period are clearly marked, making the story easy to follow.

The Relic Guild introduced a whole new concept of magic to me. The members of the Relic Guild are some of the last able to wield magic… and they each have different abilities. These abilities are almost second nature, or like a sixth sense, to the characters. Their attitude to the power differs greatly from each other too. In addition to this: weaponry, portals and other elements of the Labyrinth draw on external forces of magic. I have never found a book that as both “types” of magic, yet Edward Cox makes them work side by side so well.

I love the idea of the Labyrinth. It’s a magical place shut off from the rest of the world. In the centre, the remaining citizens live together in Labrys Town. Out in the maze surrounding the town, danger lurks around every corner. No-one can enter nor leave. Well, so they believed. Yet forty years on from the war he lost, Fabian Moor is out for his revenge against the Relic Guild. He may not be stuck in the Labyrinth, but he is a massive threat all the same.

There are a number of characters that have a crucial role to play and they are all distinct, well-developed people. Each member of the Relic Guild has a unique relationship with one another. With the exception of Clara, all were part of the War forty years ago. Clara, a former prostitute of Labrys Town has been hiding her gift. She is the first gifted person to be identified since the War, so she is a welcome surprise when the Relic Guild rescues her from danger. There is a lot of history, grudges and camaraderie between these characters and that is reflected well throughout the book. They feel like a community, a family even, as you would expect from such a close-knit group.

The citizens are protected by the Resident, who also happens to be head of the Relic Guild. His ever-watchful eye puts them in a position to observe the danger and attempt to protect the Labyrinth as disaster unfolds. The war isn’t over.

It has only just begun.