Today’s review features a book that I was really unsure of when I borrowed it from my library in August last year. That’s precisely why I borrowed it from the library really. I didn’t want to purchase it in case I didn’t enjoy it. By picking it up I was trying something completely out of my comfort zone.
So, if it was completely out of my comfort zone, why did I want to read it? Well, I’ve read and heard great things about it, for a start. Not only that, but I was drawn into it by the fact that it handles a very sensitive subject: euthanasia. I’m glad I read it too! Whilst it was a gamble, it was one that paid off massively!
They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.
A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?
If I were asked to liken myself to a book character, I would have to say Louisa. She is a ditzy, clumsy, optimistic young woman who always tries to please others. She doesn’t always succeed, but she does her best. From the very first few pages, I felt like I knew her – I liked her. Her bubbly personality makes her instantly likeable and her evident flaws have you laughing along at her. Good naturedly, of course. Will is very much her counterpoint. After the accident that left him paralysed, he feels he has very little to live for. His friends and ex-girlfriend have long disappeared, his family broken apart from the strain of it all and he is trapped in the middle with no escape. His pessimism and sarcasm make him an entirely different character to Louisa, verging on unlikeable.
When Louisa takes on the job of caring for Will, she has no idea how that decision will change both of their lives. Did I expect to enjoy the romance element of the book? No. I didn’t really. It’s not my cup of tea, and yet, I couldn’t help but find myself warming to the two of them. Their relationship builds subtly over time. At first their differences set them miles apart but Louisa’s persistence wins through. We see a side of Will that he has tried so hard to close off, to make things easier at the end. Their feelings for each other don’t stem from a shallow physical attraction. It’s an emotional bond all about companionship. They see the worst of each other and it doesn’t matter.
Will’s position and views are difficult for a lot of people to come to terms with. His choice must be an impossible one to make. You would think his very contrary position would make him difficult to relate to, but I didn’t find that at all. The subject is handled so well. Me Before You is a very emotional book. I knew the ending, so I knew what I was getting myself in for anyway. Don’t worry; I made sure to finish this at home so I could bawl my eyes out without being judged. If you’re judging me now for it, you clearly haven’t read this book. I challenge you to read Me Before You and not cry.
Hello lovely readers and welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! It’s been three months since I put together my last TTT post. They’re a favourite to read and a lot of fun to write!
Today’s post is all about celebrating what I enjoy about being a book blogger. If you think it’s easy, think again – it’s like a part-time job! I probably average around 6-8 hours a week writing blog posts, never mind the number of hours reading the books I feature. That being said, I love it. It doesn’t feel like a job when it’s something you love to do and it comes with a lot of perks.
Here are my favourite things about being a book blogger!
Lots of reading!
It goes without saying, but if you want lots of material for your book blog you have to read. The backlog of books you read as a child/teenager will only go so far. Talking about the same books all the time makes for stale content too.
I’ve always loved reading – a good thing, I suppose. It was actually my love of reading (and getting back into it after a long while) that prompted me to think about starting Reviewsfeed. I couldn’t tell you how many hours a week I spend reading. It’s such a habit that I couldn’t imagine not reading. I can probably count on one hand the number of days a year I don’t pick up a book all day.
Book recommendations EVERYWHERE!
The advantage of being part of a book-loving community is that we are all talking about fantastic books. Pretty much any blog hopping session results in stumbling across someone’s great review for a book that’s right up your street. I think it’s great. My TBR list not so much… but what book blogger doesn’t have a humongous list of books to read? It wouldn’t be natural…
Trying new things
Since starting my blog I have been a lot more adventurous in my choices in reading material. I basically only used to read fantasy novels… maybe the odd science fiction or rarely a historical fiction if I really wanted to push the boat out. Thing is, I’d get bored of the same old tropes and it felt like reading the same books over and over again. It’s one of the reasons I let my reading habit slip after I left school.
Before my blog started, I had never read a horror novel. Stephen King was a name I was well familiar with (obviously), but I hadn’t even entertained reading one of his books. I’m an idiot, I see that now! If you had told me I would go on to re-read books I hated at school, like Of Mice and Men and 1984, or I would read more such ‘classics’, I’d have laughed at you. Having an audience to write for, and encourage you, makes a huge difference. Without it I think I would be just as unadventurous as before.
Hot off the press
The great thing about working with publishers (or even just following them) is knowing what new releases are coming out, and when!
I hardly read them straight away, but there is the odd exception to the rule. My point is, I have the choice to drop every book on my TBR for a new one if I really want to. It has been known and I didn’t feel remotely guilty!
Taking part in blog tours
I’ve discovered a love for taking part in blog tours. That probably won’t come as a surprise to you if you know how many I take part in. This partly links to the above point, because it’s a great opportunity to try something new. Through taking part in tours I have read books that I wouldn’t have necessarily discovered myself.
I also enjoy tours as I get to support new or indie authors. I have many favourite big-name authors that I read as well, but I try to balance my content to feature lesser-known or upcoming names as well. They have great books and it’s a pleasure to recommend them to others with similar reading tastes to me!
Collaborating with authors
Honestly, working with indie authors is the best! I have worked with many authors through direct requests and through tours now. A good number of them have come back to me to ask for further reviews as well. It’s satisfying, and they are truly so grateful that you want to work with them. I love getting feedback from them.
I’ve given up tagging well-established authors in posts unless it’s for a tour because it won’t get acknowledged anyway. They don’t ‘need’ your publicity. Indie authors are the complete opposite end of the spectrum though. They’ll keep re-posting your material for months afterwards – and not necessarily just your reviews of their book(s). They are the heart of the community.
Collaborating with authors is just part of the process. This point is more broad-based though. By supporting authors, I mean helping them to by sharing my reviews on other sites than my blog. The more reviews a book has on Amazon and the like, the more likely they are eligible for promotions and increased exposure.
Being part of an amazing community
Sticking with the theme of community, everyone’s great really! There’s no rivalry or bitterness over viewer numbers or content. Everyone is so supportive and engaging with your content as well as their own. Sure, you get the odd spanner making ridiculous claims that book bloggers aren’t ‘real readers’ and such, but they are few and far between.
We are all around because we are doing something we love – sharing our love of books with each other!
Getting the odd “free” book
I say “free”, but they aren’t really free. There are two main ways of getting books for no cost in this community – winning it in a promotional competition or by receiving it with the expectation of a review. It might not seem like much, but it’s actually several hours of my time in reading the book before spending a couple more drafting and editing my post before it goes live.
Everyone likes a freebie, I’ll be honest. However, I take issue with those that automatically assume that a review following receipt of a “free” copy is a dishonest one – that I’ve been bribed with it. I’m looking at you Amazon. My hobby is all about sharing my honest thoughts about (and recommending) books with a community of readers. If I lie and my opinions can’t be trusted by the very people I am putting them too, I’m ruining my reputation and integrity. It does me literally no favours to lie.
Freedom to speak my mind
It’s not very often that you can speak your mind freely about something. I try my best in everything I do, but sometimes there’s a time and a place and it’s not it. The advantage of having my own little corner on the internet is that I can share my thoughts freely. Fact is, I like offering my opinion (whether you like it or not). Here, no one tells me to shut up or keep my opinions to myself!
Sense of achievement
I’ll be the first person to hold my hands up and say that I am awful for starting new things and not seeing them through for very long. I get bored or lose interest. My blog is the exception to that rule. Even when I started it, I didn’t know how long I was going to stick at it for. I started with a completely free one at first while I tested out my initial commitment. As I found my feet, I decided to invest in it and it’s taken off from there.
I couldn’t tell you how much of my time I have funnelled into my reading and my blog to date. A lot! It’s rewarding though. To be able to say I stuck at something, and to be proud of my blog is a great feeling. If even one person reads my content and decides to buy a book based on it, that’s all the satisfaction I need.
Are you a book blogger? What are your favourite things about being one?
Welcome to today’s blog tour review for Tooth and Blade by Julian Barr. I hope you are having a lovely weekend?
I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about this book. When Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources circulated the book and tour details, I was immediately drawn in by the combination of Norse mythology and fantasy. I’ve read a few books with elements of Norse mythology in them, such as Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories (aka The Last Kingdom) series. I really enjoy reading more about it and was curious to see how these elements would come together.
As always, thank you to Rachel and to the author Julian Barr for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!
Tooth and Blade – Julian Barr
Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!
Two worlds. One destiny.
Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.
To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm—beauty, terror, the love of a princess.
Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.
A monster sheds no tears.
Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.
Dóta is a daughter of two worlds. Born to human parents but raised by trolls, she is a unique character. Until she is permitted to go up to the surface and experience the world for herself, Dóta lives a sheltered life. Only her mother and brother’s stories about her past and the world above feed her curiosity, until one day she is sent above to hunt for herself.
Tooth and Blade is a tale of magic, discovery, identity and conflict. As I expected, I really enjoyed the Norse mythology element. I am still a novice when it comes to knowledge of Norse mythology, however, I know the basics. The gods and concepts of destiny and fate were present consistently throughout the book, so it definitely has a significant influence on the narrative.
At 288 pages, these three novellas together are an excellent length to establish an interesting world and allow for plenty of action and character development. I actually read Tooth and Blade in a couple of days. The story and writing style flow so well that it makes for an easy read to pick up and enjoy.
Tooth and Blade has many elements that wouldn’t typically be put together into one narrative, and yet it all gelled perfectly. The narrative has a solid plotline that cleverly brings all the characters and their different backgrounds together. Dóta is my favourite of all though. She is a truly unique character who doesn’t strictly fit in. She’s fierce and a fighter, and after all the turmoil of discovering who she really is, she decides to carve her own path instead of letting others decide what role she should play.
Dóta isn’t the only strong female character. There are other female warriors, trained to protect the King no less. My experience of Norse/Viking novels is that lead characters are very young, alpha-male personalities. Men. Tooth and Blade showed a completely different perspective, which is refreshing!
If you’d like to read more about Tooth and Blade, you can check out some of the other blog tour posts – details below.
Julian Barr first fell in love with all things ancient and magical in childhood, when he staged his own version of I, Claudius using sock puppets. After his PhD in Classics, he did a brief stint as a schoolteacher, hated being called ‘sir,’ and dived into storytelling. Although he remains open to the possibilities of sock puppet theatre, historical fantasy is his passion. He has published scholarly research on Roman medicine and the gastronomic habits of Centaurs, but prefers to think of himself as an itinerant bard. He is also the author of the Ashes of Olympus trilogy.
I really enjoyed writing my Year in Books post, which looked back at my reading progress, resolutions and achievements in 2019. Today’s post is going to reflect to last year’s reading as well. It’s the perfect time to talk about my favourite reads of the year – why I loved them and why I hope I can persuade you to read them as well!
I have read a number of similar posts by bloggers and enjoyed them. Some have even written worst book posts, although I have decided I won’t be writing one of those posts. I didn’t read a bad book at all last year and none were unfinished. It wouldn’t be fair to a book on that list to label it as the “worst” just because it was “okay” instead of “great”.
So, instead, let’s spread some book positivity and talk about my best reads in 2019! Unfortunately, I can’t feature all 30 of my 5* reads of the year, so I have narrowed it down to the best of the best, and most likely, the books I’ll want to re-read in the future! I take that as the best measure of which books made the biggest impression on me throughout the year. So, let’s dive in!
I cannot tell you how excited I was for the publication of The Testaments by Margaret Atwood last year. It’s rare that I pre-order books in anticipation of their publication, but this was a notable exception. That actually worked out in my favour too, as I was entered into the prize draw held by my local store to win a signed copy – and I won!
It’s funny, because the first time I read the prequel, The Handmaid’s Tale years ago, I hated it. I put it down about a third of the way through. I was only a teenager then; the appetite for this kind of narrative has come with maturity, I think.
I’m glad that The Testaments wasn’t written too similarly to The Handmaid’s Tale. I think trying to mimic the style of the original 30 years later would have been a mistake. I like the fresh perspectives that we get in The Testaments from multiple characters and backgrounds within and around Gilead. It’s a lot more modern and consequently, more applicable to readers in today’s society!
After reading The Chalk Man, I was surprised to be reminded that this is the debut novel by C. J. Tudor. I already had my eye on other books written by her, but I will certainly be reading them now! I mean, I’ve even recommended this to my mum to read; she has my copy at the moment.
The Chalk Man is the kind of book that has you guessing until the end. It’s cleverly written, entwining two timelines 30 years apart to unravel the truth behind the identity of the chalk man and the murder of a young woman that has remained unsolved for 30 years.
The characters are something else as well! There is so much depth to them that they are very real and easy to invest into. They are also portrayed cleverly and I think the author has written them in such a way as to suggest what your perception of them should be. It’s so subtle but it’s all part of maintaining the suspense and mystery.
There was no way I was going to be able to pick just one of these books to feature. Individually and collectively they are brilliant fantasy novels. I wouldn’t describe myself as a binge reader particularly. I like the variety. All the same, I devoured this series! I read the first book on holiday in October and finished the series with a matter of weeks until the end of the year!
The combination of a unique premise, fantastical characters and creatures, magic and humour worked really well for me! I’ll play the devil’s advocate and say that I did not expect to like the whole relationship element between a couple of the main characters. Yet, I did. Their relationship, in my opinion, is a lot less sexual than most. Both characters have grown up without a real sense of family, so their union is emotional; it’s about belonging and trust.
As always, Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful. The narrative is effortless to read. These books may be several hundred pages each, but the pages sail by as you get lost in the story!
Now we get to my second-best rated book of the year and it was a tight contender for the top spot! I was blown away by this book. The subject matter is dark and gritty and it drew me in immediately. Simon Says is also a dual timeline narrative – one of my favourite formats. As a reader, we get to experience events spiralling to their feared, inevitable conclusion in Cindy’s childhood and live through the aftermath and her confronting those demons in her adult life.
All of the characters are very true to life and reflect the different ways in which people react to such a traumatic event. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me too. From feeling sick to sad and then rage at how a young girl has had to go through something so awful, I felt it all.
I read Simon Says back in September 2019 and to this day I still think about it occasionally. It’s stuck with me. I can’t tell you why, but it has.
Finally, a shout out to my favourite read of 2019 and of course, it would be a fantasy novel! The world, the magic and fantasy setting of Crowfall is truly unique. I have loved the series from day 1 and I was very happy, but equally sad to have finished it! It’s definitely very high up on my list of books to re-read.
Ryhalt is an anti-hero you cannot help but invest into. He’s a flawed, unlucky in love drunk at the beck and call of a deity essentially as powerful as a God. He’s been corrupted by magic poisoning a land known as the Misery… for a very good reason! In an epic battle between the Nameless and the Deep Kings, humans are no more than collateral damage – and they want to unleash a magical weapon just like the one that corrupted the Misery in the first place!
Grimdark is a genre rapidly going up in my good books. I also really loved reading Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire series. Between Mark Lawrence and Ed McDonald, they have set a VERY high bar for the genre.
So there you have it! These were my best reads of 2019! Have you read any of these books or added them to your TBR? I’d love to know what you make of them in the comments.
***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!
In July I received news that I was one of the few and fortunate to receive an early ARC of this AMAZING debut novel, courtesy of Orion Publishing. When this book is officially published on the 7th February 2019 (make a note of that date friends), I urge any fans of crime or psychological thriller novels… or frankly ANYONE to get a copy of this book!!
Why? I started reading The Silent Patient late one night on a whim. I finished reading it in less than 24 hours and I was swept away. Yep…it really is that good, folks!
Promising to be the debut novel of the season The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive…
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…
I have always taken a keen interest in human Psychology. I was taught about the human brain and different types of therapy at school. It was one of the topics I enjoyed the most in my years of study. The reason I find psychological thrillers so entertaining is because I know just how unreliable the human brain is!
Alicia is an intriguing character. Basing a book around a character that refuses to speak is a difficult, but certainly not impossible, task. Despite her lack of verbal communication she has a strong presence throughout the novel. They say actions speak louder and words and this couldn’t be any truer in Alicia’s case. Even her silence has plenty to say when it wants to:
“Her silence was like a mirror – reflecting yourself back at you.
And it was often an ugly sight.”
Theo, the psychotherapist determined to break her silence, is just as complex. In fact, I would say he has a lot in common with Alicia. Both have had painful upbringings, have addictive personalities (different vices) etc. It really is like looking in a mirror.
As with all books of this genre I was trying to guess the ending, then second guessing my thoughts. The Silent Patient has a dramatic conclusion – one I didn’t even consider! I adored this book so much; I think that shows in the way I read it so quickly. It has been a long time since I have inhaled a book so fast. The Silent Patient is an entertaining, must-read psychological thriller!
Happy weekend everyone! I hope you’ve had a good one! It’s time to take a look back at my week in books:-
My first blog post of the week was the Coffee Book Tag. I loved the idea so much, I had to do it for myself. If you haven’t read it yet or would like to have a go, then count this as a TAG for you to do it! If you do, I would love to see your answers to the questions!
On Saturday I shared my review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It’s such a classic that most people know it even if they haven’t read it themselves. This was actually my first time reading it – I never got the opportunity to at school. I was reading books like 1984 or Of Mice and Men instead (also very good reads). I have come to appreciate them a lot more in adulthood I have to say.
It’s been a busy, busy week guys! I feel like I have made so much progress, I cannot begin to express how happy I am about it! I’ve gotten myself into a right reading blitz… so much so that I am likely to have read an extra book by month end!
My reading goal from last week was to set aside A Clash of Kings in favour of You Can’t Make Old Friends and Choose Your Parents Wisely by Tom Trott. I picked up You Can’t Make Old Friends on Tuesday and I finished it on Thursday, which is a result. I’m currently 35% through Choose Your Parents Wisely, with more progress to be made tonight to get myself to the target of 50%.
I must confess I was kidding myself in saying that I could put aside A Clash of Kings. I was at the battle of the Blackwater; it’s one of the most exciting bits. Of course, I carried on reading it, but at least not to the detriment of the other books to read. I actually managed to finish A Clash of Kings on Friday, which is even better!
As hinted above, I have also started another book to round up the month. Do you remember my 2019 resolution to try and read more non-fiction? Well, having mooched around my library for some time for inspiration, I picked up Mythos by Stephen Fry. This is the second book of his I have picked up; I love his narrative voice and his ability to recount the Greek myths, so far, is phenomenal. It’s comical as well, making it all the more palatable.
Technically I only have the one addition to the TBR, which is Mythos. I’ve already told you about that though, so let’s move swiftly onwards…
So, what can you expect on the blog next week?
Well actually, I’m such a good egg that I already have tomorrow’s post lined up and scheduled! That doesn’t happen very often… I’ll tell you that for free! As part of the publication day blog blitz, I have read and reviewed Black Matter by G.D. Parker. It’s a fast-paced crime novel that centres on technology and the ability to use it against those that use it. I really enjoyed reading it; I hope you enjoy my review just as much tomorrow
Later in the week, I’ll be putting together my Reading List for February. I say putting it together – to be honest, it’s almost set in stone as it is. I have a couple of blog tours coming up in February and one of those is for three books. Two days later I am set to review a fourth. I’ve been very busy on the tour front lately, but I actually quite enjoy it. In addition to those tours, I have two books to read that I have been approached with independently and an extract from another book to beta read. I may add one more book to the list, but aside from that, I’m booked out!
As for reading progress, I would love to finish Choose Your Parents Wisely by Tuesday, but Wednesday at the latest. That still grants me a couple of days to work on Mythos for the end of the month. I want to have that one finished by the end of the week as well. As it’s a library loan, I don’t want to hold on to it for too long. Before the week is out, regardless of progress with Mythos, I have to start It Never Goes Away by Tom Trott. This is the third book of the crime series I have been reading lately, making up my triad of books for review next month. It’s a short deadline to get this read in time, so I can’t delay starting this one!
Top Blog Posts of the Week
Do you recall last week I announced that I was adding a section to my Sunday Summary posts? Well, this is it! In a bid to get me to read other people’s blogs more and to recognise some lovely faces (old and new) in the blogging community, I’ll be providing links to blog posts I really enjoyed reading this week: –
I saw this tag over at The Book Prescription and it looked like so much fun! I love books and I love coffee, although if you make one like this first mug in the picture, I’ll sacrifice you to the Gods for ruining a potentially good cup of coffee…
1. Black Coffee | Name A Series That’s Tough To Get Into But Has Hardcore Fans
I’d probably only say this series is tough to get into if you ignore the fact that the TV series popularised the whole thing. I’m purely considering this from a book perspective. Each book is long, epic in its volume of characters and established families that geographically span two large continents. Each continent has many cities or kingdoms with their own history, customs and cultures.
You get the drill. The Song of Ice and Fire series is not for the fainthearted… that’s for sure!
2. Peppermint Mocha | Name A Book That Gets More Popular During the Winter or A Festive Time of Year
This is one I haven’t actually read yet, but I have intended to for the past couple of Christmases. Maybe this year!
3. Hot Chocolate | What Is Your Favourite Children’s Book
I was actually shocked to find out this was even targeted at children, but it is. I only read this last year personally.
4. Double Shot of Espresso | Name A Book That Kept You On the Edge Of Your Seat From Start to Finish
I read The Silent Patient last year – in less than 24hrs. That’s how much I was on the edge of my seat. I can’t remember the last time I read so fast!
5. Starbucks | Name A Book You See Everywhere
This is one I haven’t read but am seriously considering picking up next month. Does anyone recommend?
6. The Hipster Coffee Shop | Give A Book By An Indie Author A Shout Out
I have worked with so many indie authors that it wouldn’t be fair to single one out over the others. You are all fantastic guys!
7. Oops! I Accidentally Ordered Decaf | Name A Book You Were Expecting More Of
So many people have raved about American Gods by Neil Gaiman, but I just didn’t get it. I stuck with it but struggled. Some suggest reading it twice, but I don’t think I’ll enjoy it again, so I won’t.
8. The Perfect Blend | Name A Book Or Series That Was Both Bitter And Sweet, But Ultimately Satisfying
The only book I can think to put in this category is The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Obviously, the bitterness comes from the harsh reality that Lale and Gita had to endure – it’s a telling based on a true account as well. The sweetness lies in the relationship that they maintained. They survived for each other.
9. Green Tea | Name A Book Or Series That Is Quietly Beautiful
I wouldn’t say I am much of a reader of YA but this duology blew me away. I want my own Lazlo!
10. Chai Tea | Name a Book Or Place Series That Makes You Dream Of Far Off Places
I’m not particularly travel ambitious; I’ll be the first person to admit this is a hard question for me to answer. Since reading The Song of Ice and Fire series (and consequently watching it – more weight is leant to this side of things), I have wanted to visit Dubrovnik, the set of King’s Landing. I was hoping to go last year, but alas, travel plans with friends fell through. Maybe in future!
11. Earl Grey | Name Your Favourite Classic
It’s funny – each and every book I considered for this accolade has previously been on the “I hated this” pile. Isn’t maturity the strangest thing? I found it hard to pick this one. It was ultimately a tossup between 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale, but I think The Handmaid’s Tale just gets it.
I’m not going to tag anyone in this post in case you have already been nominated by someone else! If you would like to take part though, then TAG!! I want to see your answers!
Narrowing down a list of Top Ten Reads in 2018 was always going to be hard. How can you pick favourites?! It’s like asking a mother to pick a favourite child!
When I was getting a list together of the books I read in 2018 in order to make my choices, I made two discoveries: –
Goodreads hadn’t credited me for 4 books read, so I actually managed to read 50 books in 2018 instead of 46
Of those 50 books, I rated nearly half 5* ; only 7 books got a rating of 3* or less
Boy, don’t I make my life difficult…
It’s been tough and I’ve had to be brutal. I read a lot of amazing books in 2018 (as you would guess based on my VERY high ratings), but I had to narrow it down to 10. So, here are my Top Ten Reads of 2018! Where I have reviewed the book on my blog, links to my review posts can be followed by clicking on the images.
Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor
When I haven’t been at work or reading a book, I’ve spent a lot of this week preparing for Christmas! I’m officially on countdown! I love this time of year and I’m finally getting into the spirit!
On account of spending time wrapping presents and attending Christmas parties, I only managed one out of the two blog posts I promised you this week. Whilst it would have been nice to make some further progress in whittling down the TBR pile, I feel that posting my review of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was more important. I received an ARC back in July this year so my reading and reviewing this title was overdue. The book is published on the 7th February 2019 – I must insist you get a copy!
I have been reading two books concurrently this week. Earlier in the week, I continued reading The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire. When writing my Sunday Summary post last week I had higher hopes of making more progress with this book than I have. Instead, I ended up reading just over 40% a second book on December’s reading list. The Cathedral of Known Things is the second book by Edward Cox in The Relic Guild series. I totally love the magic system and the world-building, so putting this down has proven rather difficult.
I have been really tame this week – I haven’t even added any books to the TBR! *And so I shouldn’t – it’s already out of control*
This week I promised you a review of the TBR pile, which ultimately didn’t happen. I’m sorry; I don’t have any particular excuse. I just didn’t get around to it. However, I will this week – it’s the first post I am committing to.
The second post I want to publish this week is a review of Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett. I am absolutely in love with the Discworld and its various characters. At the time I read this book on a whim – you can’t really go wrong with that, can you? It’s just what I needed. I love Pratchett’s humour and writing style.
On the reading front, I am going to be bold and say that I want to have finished The Cathedral of Known Things by next week. If I get time to read any more than this, I’ll continue with The Road to Alexander.
Are you all set for Christmas? Have you planned to read any festive books for the season? I would love to hear from you in the comments!
October – the time of year when the nights start to draw in. On the one hand, it’s great! You can come home from work, draw the curtains and not feel guilty about not doing very much. I mean, it’s too cold… and DARK, obviously. I do miss the lighter nights in a way though – leaving work and having several hours of sunshine left means you can go out and do things! Days feel less work-orientated if you have time to sit outside and socialise at the local pub. Don’t think of me as an alcoholic, please! I have literally done this once this summer! Anyway… having the salad justified the wine. Pffft.
Once I am used to the dark nights though, I love it! There is no place like home, curled up under a blanket and wearing the thickest pair of socks you can find. Coffee and books are also essential… and this year, I have some great books to look forward to!
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.
This is the first direct review request from an author that I have had for a while, and I’m really excited to read it! It is my favourite genre and I have high hopes for the book, based on the synopsis.
Jason Conners is the last person you’d expect to run into a burning building, unless of course there was something inside worth stealing. Call him what you want: criminal, thief, asshole, but hero? Absolutely not. Jason’s questionable behavior and disturbing antics can only be attributed to one secret.
He can change the future, but with great power comes great responsibility? Hell no. His ability makes him the best thief in the city, and nothing is off-limits. Until Jason’s carefree attitude gains the attention of the Rogues, and the government.
The Rogues want him to stop catastrophic events from taking place, and the government has their own agenda. When the hunt begins, Jason is caught in the crosshairs and learns that breaching is not as limitless as he thought.
Can this anti-hero give up a life of easy money and become the savior the Rogues need, or will it cost him everything—even his immortality?
I have been looking forward to this Blog Tour since taking part in the cover reveal back in February. A while, I know! The synopsis sounds amazing in its own right… but what really sells this book to me is the anti-hero protagonist. I don’t think we see enough of these characters in books. I adored The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence purely because the protagonist Jorg is such an anti-hero! Fingers crossed I’ll love Breachers as much as I have hyped it up!
In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.
Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.
As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.
This is my only non-ARC or review request and I have waited MONTHS for this moment!
I read Strange the Dreamer earlier this year. I suppose you could say by accident. Yes, you read that right. I was bored one Saturday afternoon and decided to sample a couple of chapters to convince myself to read it next month. Next time I looked up at the clock, I had read part 1, around 20% of the book. Two days later, I closed the cover for the last time.
I did not feel guilty either. I can see myself flying through Muse as well, then probably wanting to cry and read the whole duology again. I’m calling it now. Watch this space.
Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies
“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.”
Two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by dark magic and she has known many mistresses. This time the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife to Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.
For Caitlyn, this mistress appears no different from any of the others she has been forced to serve. That is, until Llewelyn captures William de Braose and holds him and his men prisoner, and Joan falls for William and risks 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…
I was hoping to read this ARC last month, to try and get ahead of myself really. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. As yet, I am still awaiting my copy. I’m reviewing this in a month’s time, so there is no rush! Now I have read the first couple of books in the Caitlin series, I think I’ll get into this one straight away! Although, with the way the second book ended, this next one could be very different from the last two. I’ll just have to wait and see!
The Swan Keeper is an historical, coming of age novel set in Northwest Montana’s Mission Valley in the late 1920s.
Lillian Connelly loves trumpeter swans and vows to protect them from a hunter who is killing them and leaving their carcasses for the wolves and coyotes to ravage.
On her eleventh birthday Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun and fires on not only the swans, but on Lilly’s family. Unable to prevent tragedy, Lillian witnesses Drake kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans.
The sheriff, Charlie West, thinks that Lilly is reacting to the trauma and blaming Drake because of a previous conflict between Drake and her father. Lilly’s mother, sister, and her best friend, Jerome West, the sheriff’s son, all think the same thing: that Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident.
Left alone to bring Dean Drake to justice, Lilly’s effort is subverted when Drake woos her sister, courts her mother, and moves into their home.
I first discovered this author when I was kindly asked to read and review Copper Sky. Also set in Montana, although a few years on from Copper Sky, I cannot wait to see how these novels compare.
So, that’s the list! I also hope to make a little more progress with The Eye of the World, but I’ll have to play it by ear. It depends entirely on how I get on with this lot!
What book blogger wouldn’t proclaim themselves an avid reader?
If found without a book in hand, send for medical aid!
My name is Rebecca; welcome to my humble little blog.