Tag: audiobook

Sunday Summary – 27th September 2020

I can’t believe I’m sat here writing another Sunday Summary post already. This week has been busy and seems to have flown by!

I shared a couple of posts with you earlier this week. My first post was a review of a book I read and adored earlier this year. The fact that I went on to read the rest of the series published to date in around a couple of months speaks volumes! If you haven’t checked out my review of The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson, please take a look.

Friday saw the return of my regular feature post, Shelf Control. It has been over a month since I last shared one of these posts. It was good fun to have another look at my TBR and feature the next book on the list and share why I want to read it.

 

Books Read

I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading this week, but not as much as usual. Work has been quite busy and on top of that I’m stepping up with studying for my exam next month. I don’t count that towards my blogging (I’m sure a textbook on how securities are settled across the global financial market would bore you all half to death), but probably half of my reading time was spent on this over the course of the week.

When I wasn’t studying, I picked up Rags of Time by Michael Ward and picked up where I left off last week. I had only really just started this as of last week’s Sunday Summary update, so I’ve probably read around 40% of the book this week. Not the best, but not worst either. Honestly, I’ve been feeling a little burned out over the last week and I haven’t read as much as normal, purely because I didn’t want to. I can’t force myself to and I won’t. I read for fun – if it becomes a chore then it’s time to stop.

During one particular day when I was feeling burned out, but also slightly guilty for it, I turned to the faithful audiobook by way of compromise. I said I wanted to keep going with Jack the Ripper: Case Closed and I have. I sat and listened to more of this whilst working on a knitting project I’ve started. Even though I was doing two things at once, I felt like I could switch off a bit more. It helped me wind down a bit, but also feel more motivated to get back into reading again. Around 15% of my progress reading of Rags of Time was done this morning after that night – put it that way!

 

Books Discovered

Again, I haven’t added a single book to my TBR this week. In fairness, I have been doing other things (blogging, studying, knitting etc)so I haven’t really been looking at books…

 

Coming Up…

Since I am stepping up the studying and trying to catch up on my TBR, I’m only going to share next month’s reading list mid next week. I also have a blog tour early in October that I will need to do the reading for (pretty sharpish) so I’m not going to overburden myself with too many posts.

I’ll round off the week with a Sunday Summary as usual.

 

That’s all from me until next week! Have a good one and I’ll see you around!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 20th September 2020

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s catch up in this Sunday Summary post! I hope you have all had a good week, whatever you have gotten up to.

Mine has been a busy week! Aside from reading and blogging, I’ve spent a good deal of time on home improvements. I’ve spent a good few evenings this week re-painting my downstairs loo. I have friends coming over next week for afternoon tea, so I wanted to get the most garish room in the house dealt with before then. I’m not joking when I say it was Kawasaki green…

It’s not anymore!

Around that, I’ve been writing blog posts about my Top Ten Fantasy Novel Covers in Tuesday’s ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ post and on Thursday, I shared my review of The Rue Stone by Janet Stock for the book birthday blitz blog tour. Try and say ‘book birthday blitz blog tour’ quickly five times, I dare you!

 

Books Read

Although I have been doing a lot of work on the house, I’ve still managed to get a fair amount of reading done. My top priority at the start of the week was to read The Rue Stone since I was taking part in the blog tour on Thursday. The Rue Stone is an 80-page or so novella, so I actually read this in one sitting one evening. It was nice to read something short for a change and I enjoyed the storyline!

I’ve also started reading Rags of Time this week. I haven’t made huge progress as I’ve been decorating and general house bits, but I’ll dive into this properly tonight once this post goes live.

Since I haven’t really been in a position to sit and read a book, I’ve made a lot more progress with listening to Jack the Ripper: Case Closed. I’ve now listened to around 4-and-a-half hours this week, so I’m nearly halfway through the audiobook. I’m finished with decorating again for a little while, but I’ll definitely have to keep up with listening to this and finish it soon.

 

Books Discovered

I haven’t added a book to my TBR since the 5th August. For once, it’s actually starting to go down. I’m starting to think there’s something wrong with me…

I’m actually quite glad about it, to be honest – the length of it is entirely ridiculous and I need to get on top of it. It’s nice to see the number dropping!

 

Coming Up…

I want to share another book review with you this week. I have a few on my list that I need to catch up with. Next week I’ll be starting with a follow-on series to a trilogy I read years ago. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson is set in the Mistborn universe but in a completely new timeline far into the future of the previous books. I’ve gone on to read all of the published books in this second follow-on series since,  but I’ll just be reviewing the first book in the coming days. I hope you can join me and check out what will be my glowing review!

Nearly a month after I planned to share this post (I got my blog tour days/dates mixed up so I realised last minute I had to postpone), I’ll be sharing a Shelf Control post on Friday! Yes, blog tour commitments and such have meant that I haven’t shared any regular Friday features for a month now. But, Shelf Control is back this Friday and featuring a humorous non-fiction book that’s all about the psychology of the mind.

As always I’ll round off the week with another Sunday Summary post.

 

However, that’s all from me in this week’s Sunday Summary update! What have you been reading? I’ll catch up with you in the next one.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 13th September 2020

Hello everyone and welcome to another Sunday Summary weekly update from me! I really appreciate you guys taking time out of your day to have a read my posts, so thank you very much! So what have I been up to this week?

On Wednesday I shared my first discussion post in a while. The particular topic is one I have debated for a while now – Book Subscription Boxes – Yay or Nay? If you haven’t already checked out my post, please have a read and let me know your thoughts! Then, on Friday, I shared a review of Freedom of the Creed by Nicholas Coleridge has part of the recent blog tour. If you are a fan of Western novels, this is definitely one for you to take a look at!

 

Books Read

I started the week by reading a bit more of Lord of the Flies by William Goldberg. I had to set this aside in favour of reading Freedom of the Creed for my blog tour post on Friday. Since then, I haven’t picked it up again though. It was okay to read, but not exciting enough to draw me back to it again. I have a lot of other books to read that I’ll probably enjoy more, so I decided to DNF this one.

As mentioned above, the next book on my list was Freedom of the Creed and I read this almost in its entirety this week. I had just started Freedom of the Creed last week, but with the upcoming tour this was my focus for the majority of the week, finishing it on Thursday.

For the first time since July, I listened to part of an audiobook this week! I haven’t picked up any in a while. Honestly, I think I almost listened to them too much when redecorating and I wanted a break. Now I’ve had that break, and rather ironically I might add, I started listening to Jack the Ripper: Case Closed yesterday when I started doing some more decorating! I have listened to the first few chapters now, so made a solid start. I’ll be chipping away at more redecorating this week so I expect I’ll listen to more of this as I’m going.

 

Books Discovered

Nothing to add again this week! This has to be a record by now, surely?!

 

Coming Up…

I’m going to share a Top Ten Tuesday post this week, with a superficial subject. This week, I’ve decided to share my top ten fantasy novel book covers. This won’t just be limited to books I’ve read either, so I could be featuring a lot of different books in this post!

On Thursday I’m taking part in yet another blog tour for The Rue Stone by Janet Stock. It’s a short fantasy novella, around 80 pages. Naturally, this will be my reading focus over the next few days.

As always, I’ll be rounding off the week with another Sunday Summary post to update you all on my week and all things bookish!

 

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post, however. I hope you have had a great week, enjoy the next one, and I’ll see you again for another catch up in a week’s time!

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Today’s audiobook review is for my second historical fiction novel by Heather Morris. I loved listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz despite its subject matter, so I knew I had to listen to Cilka’s Journey as well!

As if the events of Auschwitz aren’t harrowing enough, Cilka’s Journey centres around a young woman who is imprisoned in a labour camp after being liberated from the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau site. She is imprisoned for helping the Nazis – her crime: prostituting herself to them… like she had a choice!

 

Cilka’s Journey – Heather Morris

Goodreads – Cilka’s Journey

In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again.

Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis–with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to survive.

 

My Thoughts…

The first thing I loved about this story is that it taught me something new. I didn’t actually know about the labour camps and the trials men and women such as Cilka went through. So much is known about the conditions and the treatment of prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau and I think it’s overshadowed other events following the Second World War. I have read a few books around the subject now, but nothing like this.

As with The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the tale is based on a real person’s account of what happened to them. Reading about it in a fictional sense is upsetting enough, but knowing that many people lived through such a terrible experience is even more harrowing. There is a lot of detail to the narrative, which I really enjoy; it validates the authenticity of the events and conditions people were forced to live in. It also makes it very easy for us as listeners/readers to put ourselves in Cilka’s shoes, feel her pain, sorrow, and a few moments of joy.

The bleak descriptions of the bitterly cold Siberian labour camp are haunting. Living in such cruel conditions made the lives of these women very difficult, especially for those left weak from their time in the concentration camp. It’s frighteningly easy to feel the isolation these women have from the rest of the world. Not all is bleak, however, as many strong friendships are forged between them in their common suffering. They have few personal possessions of their own, but readily give up what they can to help others. They find solace in each other and help one another through their darkest days.

This is an audiobook review, so it’s only fair to comment on how well the audiobook is narrated. The narrator Louise Brealey’s narration style is fantastic. Cilka’s Journey is an emotional account of horrific events and her ability to encapsulate the emotion makes it even easier for the reader (listener) to immerse themselves with the story.

As I hope you can tell from the review, this was a five-star read (listen) for me. I absolutely loved it and I’m sure it’s a book I will go back and read again!

Have you read Cilka’s Journey or The Tattooist of Auschwitz? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Hey guys and welcome back to another review post! I’ve already reviewed one book (audiobook) this week and I’m back again in an effort to catch up with the number of reviews I need to write! Today’s review is going to be a joy to write because I absolutely loved this book! In fact, I loved the whole series! I wouldn’t describe myself as a binge reader particularly, but I read this series really quickly by my standards. I read this on holiday in October last year and I read the remaining two books in November and December respectively. I can tell you now that it’s one I will be picking up time and again.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Goodreads

Purchase Links:  Amazon UK    Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

If I haven’t already made it clear from the intro, let me say this one thing first. Ahem. I LOVED THIS BOOK! I was already a huge fan of Laini Taylor’s based on her Strange the Dreamer duology. She really has a way with words, beautiful descriptions and great characters/storylines. If you are a huge fantasy fan, please, please read at least one of her books. Whilst they are marketed at a young adult audience, I didn’t overly perceive them that way. I don’t typically read YA but I’m glad I did on this occasion!

In Daughter of Smoke and Bone Laini Taylor reinvents the classic angels vs demons conflict. Where typical stories have clear cut good and evil sides, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is riddled with moral ambiguity and grey areas on both sides. It makes the conflict element of the storyline really interesting. What makes it even better is that our main character Karou is largely ignorant of what is going on within this conflict for most of the book. To us readers, she begins as a mostly normal young woman studying art in Prague. However, as Karou accidently learns that there is more to her existence than she first realises, we readers are thrown into a whole new world where enemies appear as friends, and friends as enemies. Who is Karou really, and who can she trust?

I really enjoy how well Laini Taylor gives her female characters plenty of sass! If you want an example, I shared a great opening quote from one of the later books in a First Lines Friday post. It’s just one of many brilliantly funny moments that had me laughing out loud. I’m pretty sure I had a few quizzical looks whilst reading this, not least from my sister!

As someone that isn’t a huge advocate of romances in novels, I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of the Karou/Akiva relationship alluded to in the synopsis. I was pleasantly surprised though. It is quite a significant part of the narrative, but it isn’t awkward, forced or uncomfortable to read. I’ll hold my hands up and say that I just get awkward reading romances when they’re overly sexualised. It just makes me cringe. Karou and Akiva’s spark isn’t like that at all – it’s born of longing, a half-remembered past. A re-kindling. That’s all I can say without spoiling anything, but the one thing it is not is sexual. Works for me!

I’m glad I bought Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the rest of the series later, in paperback. I will definitely be revisiting this series again – that’s how much I loved it. Now that I know what happens, I also want to read it again to see what I missed the first time.  

Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone or any other books by Laini Taylor? Let me know in the comments!

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Audiobook Review: Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Today I am sharing an audiobook review for Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I listened to this audiobook last year and finished it in September. It’s been a little while since I finished this, however, I have listened to its sequel Crooked Kingdom more recently.

I really enjoyed listening to Six of Crows and today’s post is all about sharing what I loved about it! Before that though, here are the details of the book: –

 

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Goodreads – Six of Crows

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts

My favourite thing about this particular book, and series, is the depth and detail of the world that has been created. Whilst I have only listened to this duology from Leigh Bardugo, my understanding is that it ties in with another series she has written (The Shadow and Bone series). It really shows in the detail. Those that read my reviews regularly will know that I talk about the setting and history of a novel a lot. It’s a big factor on whether I enjoy fantasy stories such as these or not. It worked really well for me, and I think I will be reading or listening to her other series based on what I have enjoyed listening to already.

As I listened to the audiobook version of Six of Crows, I got the benefit of a variety of narrators to add to the overall diversity in characterisation. I really liked that the story was split into several perspectives, but not so many that it becomes difficult to understand who our perspective is narrated by and what is going on. Each perspective is distinct, unique and adds to the storyline.

The daring, impossible criminal heist element of the storyline really drew me in and I’m glad I picked up Six of Crows. This was the first book I have read by Leigh Bardugo and I’ll be reading more of her books based on this one. It’s nail-biting and exciting. I agree with some of the reviews offering criticism about how events play out – it does seem a little unrealistic given the circumstances. However, I didn’t really think about it at the time – it was still enjoyable all the same!

Have you read or listened to Six of Crows? What do you think of it?

 

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Thank you!***

Top Ten Tuesday – Books for a little escapism

Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! I really like writing these posts and decided it was time for another. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

I quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. Sometimes the prescribed topics just don’t fit my blog at all! Instead, I have been having a think about an alternative topic for this week. I don’t know about you, but I read for a bit of escapism. I like to break away from the mundane routine. Well, normally. Fact is, the normal mundane routine has been ripped up and tossed out the window. It’s not a very nice situation we are in right now and more than ever I am looking for escapism. I’m sure others are too… and that’s what gave me the idea for this post.

I thought I might struggle to put this list together, but I had the opposite problem! I’ve had to cut it down quite a lot. I’ve excluded a lot of larger names that I would love to feature here because they’re well-known enough to recommend themselves. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are great books – but you probably know about them already. In today’s post, I wanted to talk about books and authors that aren’t as well-known – although they deserve to be!

 

The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

It would be pretty sacrilegious not to include my current read on this list. I’ve devoured the last three books of this series with fervour over the past few months. The books published to date are split into two timelines. I loved the first trilogy years ago but recently, the later books set in the fictional city of Elendel have reiterated why I love Brandon Sanderson’s writing. The depth of history of the magic, the characters… it’s all fantastic.

I get lost in these books! They’re the kind you promise yourself ‘just one more chapter’ before bed and before you know it, it’s WAY past your bedtime. I don’t regret it either.

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

This is also a recent discovery. I think the fact that I listened to all of Rivers of London and a third of Moon over Soho in the past couple of weeks alone says it all! If it doesn’t, I don’t know what will!

I’ve been listening to these as audiobooks whilst crocheting. It’s nice to break up the format of ‘reading’ – but I have to praise the narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. He manages to take the author’s already interesting and diverse characters and breathe life into them. The book also balances action, character development and sensory descriptions really well. If you like magical and supernatural mysteries or think you might, I would definitely recommend these books as a starting point! I suspect I’ll continue to binge-listen to these!

 

The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

Something for historical fiction fans here! I’m not even halfway through this series yet but I love it so much! It was recommended to me by a work colleague and friend. She is Danish, and it prompted some interesting conversation about the historical period. For those that don’t know, it’s set at the time the Vikings invaded Britain. The main character Uhtred is an Englishman, but living in the North, his village was raided when he was a boy and he was subsequently raised by Danes. His personal conflict between both sides runs throughout the books I have read so far and it makes for a really interesting perspective on the period!

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

If standalone books are more your thing, then Simon Says might be of interest to you. I’m going to be upfront and say that the storyline is based on the sensitive topic of rape, and the consequences of it. That might put some people off, and that’s fine! This book isn’t for you in that case. Considering the nature of it, I think that it is handled really well. I was really impressed with this book – so much so it made it on my top reads of 2019 list!

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor

This book (and series) also qualified for the top reads of 2019 list! I love Laini Taylor’s style of writing and I’ve really enjoyed her Strange the Dreamer duology previously. The Angels vs Demons (monsters) baseline is plot is great because she breaks down the stereotypes of good and evil and tosses them out of the window.

 

Blackwing – Ed McDonald

Blackwing

If, like me, you love fantasy series with epic fantasy worlds with plenty of lore in a post-apocalyptic setting, then the Raven’s Mark series could be for you! Magic ravaged the world in a cataclysmic event and razed the landscape now known as the Misery. If that’s not interesting enough for you, then how does a plotline indicating that a similar event with even more catastrophic consequences sound?

It was a winner for me and I really, REALLY recommend this one to any and all fantasy fans!

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Nevernight

The Nevernight Chronicles is another great fantasy series for those that love fantasy novels with lots of history to them. Throw in a young girl who has had her family ripped apart since childhood, rare magic power and a terrible grudge… and you get an amazing, murderous and vengeful trilogy. Determined to bring down the institution that tried to have her murdered as a child, Mia Corvere is a force to be reckoned with. I also quite enjoy Jay Kristoff’s parallels between himself and Mercurio – that’ll make sense if you read the books.

 

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

It has been a long time since I read these books, but they have definitely made a lasting impression! The first thing I love is the narration style. The tale is told from an older (and hopefully wiser) Kvothe, our main character. He is very candid over the past mistakes of his youth, which we learn about as he retells the tale.

Again, this is a series with a lot of development into the world and characters, so those of you that love that and all the action of the narrative should get on with this very well.

 

The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor

Here is another standalone for those of you that don’t have the commitment for a series. The Chalk Man is a mystery thriller novel with a chilling premise and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes! In their youth, Eddie and the gang drew chalk men as a means of communicating with each other secretly around town. However, twenty years on they reunite, and the chalk men have made a mysterious reappearance…

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

The last book on my list is another standalone mystery. The premise of the novel is like a traditional murder mystery, only its groundhog day. The protagonist has seven days to relive the day in the bodies of each guest and then name the murderer.

I really liked this one – I thought it was really unique. It’s also very cleverly-written too!

Hopefully, you have found some inspiration from this Top Ten Tuesday list, if that’s what you’re looking for! If not, well I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you agree with any of my recommendations?

 

 

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Blog Tour Audiobook Review: Visions of Zarua – Suzanne Rogerson

Happy Sunday everyone! Welcome to today’s blog tour post for Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson. I am actually really excited for today’s post as it is my first review of an audiobook for a blog tour. As always, I’d like to take the chance to thank both Suzanne and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my chance to take part in the tour. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you!

 

Visions of Zarua

Two wizards, 350 years apart. Can they save the realm of Paltria from Zarua’s dark past?

An ancient darkness haunts the realm of Paltria.

Apprentice wizard Paddren is plagued by visions of a city on the brink of annihilation. When his master dies in mysterious circumstances, the Royal Order of Wizards refuses to investigate.
Helped by his childhood friend, the skilled tracker Varnia, and her lover Leyoch, Paddren vows to find the killer.

The investigation leads Paddren down a sinister path of assassins, secret sects and creatures conjured by blood magic. But he is guided by a connection with a wizard from centuries ago – a wizard whose history holds the key to the horror at the heart of the abandoned city of Zarua. Can Paddren decipher his visions and save the Paltrian people before the dark menace of Zarua’s past is unleashed?

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon     Audible     iTunes

 

My Thoughts…

Finishing this audiobook in time for the tour ended up coming closer to the wire than I would have liked. Truth is I just don’t listen to audiobooks that quickly… unless I have a looming deadline. I typically listen to audiobooks in the car on the way home, which means I listen to them for around half an hour every weekday.

It felt like it took a little while to get into the book, but I put that down to the fact that I started listening to this audiobook quite slowly. It is no reflection on the book at all because as soon as I started listening to it as much as possible this week, I found myself hoping for a few more minutes at the end of lunch to continue it… or sitting in the car to wait for the next suitable place to pause the narrative.

I enjoyed the split timeline element of the narrative, as I often do in books of this format. In Visions of Zarua, the past and the present timelines complement each other very well. The pacing of each respective story builds to the epic climax of a 350-year-old struggle. The element of mystery to the novel also made an interesting and enjoyable pairing with the fantasy genre. The magical society and divisions within add political intrigue and tension to the relations between characters.

I can’t write this review without talking about our main characters in the novel: Paddren, Leyoch and Varnia. The friendship of these three characters from not-so-different backgrounds really gels the story together. In times of despair, they pull each other through and their complex relationships and motivations play a large part in driving the narrative forward. They each have their own distinct personalities and despite their trials and flaws, you cannot help but love and invest into them.

Lastly, as this is an audiobook, I should talk about Guy Barnes’ narration of the storyline. Can I say, he does a fantastic job of bringing each of the characters, major or minor, to life. Each is distinctively unique in the persona he has given them. The variety of accents he pulls off consistently is amazing too.

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook and I recommend it to all who enjoy the fantasy genre. I’ll be reading some of her other books having enjoyed Visions of Zarua so much – put it that way!

 

Author Bio –

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter     Goodreads     BookBub     Amazon     Facebook     Instagram

 

Narrator Bio –

Guy or the Big G as he is known to his friends is a London/ Brighton based actor and singer songwriter and producer.

He has recently completed his first leading role in the film Typo out next year and played the role of Alvin Turner in American film Holly Turner also out next year.

Guy only started narrating audiobooks last year and Visions of Zarua is his 2nd. He will be narrating 2 classics this year, Bram Stoker‘s Dracula and HG Wells The Time Machine.

In his spare time Guy is a passionate biker and cigar aficionado and he’ll not say no to a Sierra Nevada beer or two!

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter @guybarnes

Instagram @instaguyaram

 

Audiobook Review: The Painted Man – Peter Brett

It has been some time since I finished listening to Peter Brett’s The Painted Man, so it’s about time that I shared my review of this audiobook! I listened to this back in May/June this year. I started with some mixed feelings, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It grew on me the more I listened to it and the story progressed.

 

The Painted Man – Peter Brett

Goodreads – The Painted Man

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

 

My Thoughts…

I really enjoyed this audiobook overall, but I do confess that I found the beginning slow. The early chapters of the book introduce Arlen, Leesha and Rojer and their respective lives in the small towns of their birth. The reason I found the book slow-going is because each character perspective reiterates the same idea for each of these individuals (okay, in slightly different ways), but we’re basically told the same thing three times. This took at least a few hours to set the scene (and set it again, and again…), so I think it makes up the first 20% of the book.

What do we learn from that first 20%? Humans are dependent on magical wards to protect them from dark creatures, known as corelings at night. Those who live in the small towns and outskirts of the cities have primitive technology. Disaster lies only around the corner for them. And finally, humans are as good as enslaved by their fear.

Then Arlen decides to do something about it and the whole book significantly improves from there. He has seen the devastation these beasts can cause but seeks to find a way to fight back. Arlen is the most developed character of the book, followed by Leesha. Unfortunately, Rojer felt like a late and underdeveloped addition. I wanted a little more from him to balance the story out.

I really enjoyed the concept of the magic and the wards to protect, or fight, against the corelings. It’s only a simple one, but it was executed well. There is sufficient development from the fear-ridden society present at the start of the book, both sufficient to pad out the storyline of the Painted Man, but also to lay the foundations for the remainder of the series.

Despite the slow start I will continue with the series. I think there is a lot of potential to explore the vast world constructed in The Painted Man even more, which the second book seems to do.

 

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Sunday Summary – 29th September 2019

We’re at the end of another week and it’s time for my Sunday Summary post again! Where is this year going? Someone, please tell me… I’m genuinely interested. The nights are drawing in and the clocks will be changing soon. It’s probably my favourite time of year – I like to shut the dark out and get cosy in the evenings. I just wish it was a bit… drier. With the remnants of a hurricane heading our way in the next day or two, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen!!

Shall we take a look back at what I have been up to this week?

On Monday I had a lot of fun writing my Reader Problems Book Tag. It’s been a little while since I have taken part in a tag and written a little about myself, so it was overdue. I enjoyed reading other bloggers’ responses to the questions asked.

Then, on Wednesday, I shared my book review of Simon Says by Jo Wesley for the organised blog tour. If you haven’t read my review already then please do; I absolutely loved this book and it’s my second favourite of the year (so far)! It covers a harrowing subject, but does so really well. I’m already confident that I will re-read this book in years to come.

Finally on Friday, after nearly a month of other commitments, I shared a First Lines Friday post. My chosen book was perhaps a little bit predictable, but I just can’t stop talking about it! I make no apologies!

 

Books Read

I have spent this week with all my attention on Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. As of last week’s update, I had read 20% of the book. Considering the length of this book (just over 600 pages) I’ve done well to get to 74%. I’m going to be making a real push to finish this in the next day to two as a new month is upon us. You know what that means… a new reading list!

I’ve been a little better with making progress with Visions of Zarua this week. That said, I am going to have to up my game and listen for longer a day if I want to have my review ready in time for the blog tour. I need to get back into the habit of listening to audiobooks when getting ready in the morning. That extra half an hour really makes a difference. I managed it to finish listening to Six of Crows, so I can do it again.

 

Books Discovered

I have another addition to the TBR this week. After reading some fabulous reviews, and in light of the spooky season, I have added The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware to the list. I have also suggested it to our company’s book club for the October Read of the month as it’s a psychological thriller.

 

Coming Up…

Things are about to go a little bit crazy and I have no idea if I am ready for it. I have been blogging for two and a half years now, and the last couple of years I have laughed at the idea of blogtober. Who could possibly post every day for a month?

Well, I am hoping me. I am a more active blogger than I have ever been before, and I like a challenge. So, I’ve decided to try blogtober! This can either go really well or disastrously wrong, but I want to try. I also have a holiday coming up very shortly to take into account, so… this is going to be fun?

It’s going to be fine. Totally fine. I have a plan. This is how week one of blogtober is going to look:-

Tuesday 1st October – October Reading List

Wednesday 2nd October – Book Review: Thran Book 1: The Birth

Thursday 3rd October – Author Interview: Brian McLaughlin

Friday 4th October – Shelf Control

Saturday 5th October – A Day in the life of a Book Blogger

Sunday 6th October- Sunday Summary

Are you taking part in blogtober? Do you have any tips for me? Otherwise, what have you been reading this week?

 

 

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