Tag: Book series

Top Ten Tuesday – Series I’d Like (Need) to Finish!

In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I am sharing my top ten book series that I would like to finish. Scratch that – I NEED to finish!

The theme of this post could also have been book series that I would like to start or continue with. Now, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how many books series I have ongoing. The ones that I have selected for today’s post are just a small handful from a very big pot. They are, however, the ones I have made the most significant progress in, or ones that I am heavily invested in and therefore more likely to finish sooner rather than later. At least, theoretically… 

I didn’t want to share a post about books from a new series that I would like to start. It would only fuel my desire to start even more. I certainly don’t need any help in that department!

I’m hoping that this post will serve as a personal reminder of some of the series I have ongoing, and help me get around to finishing them. Some of the series featured today can’t physically be completed at the moment. I am fully up-to-date with some of them, and I’m awaiting further books to be published. However, for the most part, they are ready and waiting to go. The only thing stopping me is me!

So, without further ado, let’s dive into today’s list: –

 

Mistborn

 

The Mistborn series is split into several parts. I read the first trilogy as a teenager, but finally came back to reading the second trilogy last year. It was great to revisit the series and the magic system that I came to enjoy when I was younger. It was a gamble to see if I was going to enjoy the books set in a slightly more advanced time period, however, it really worked in my opinion.

The final book of this series has been awaiting publication for quite some time. However, that last book is due to be published in November. So, since I only have one book left, and the events of the second series are fresh in my mind, I would like to start this sooner rather than later!

 

The Dark Tower

 

I started The Dark Tower series at a time when I wanted to try Stephen King, but wasn’t feeling quite confident enough to read horror. They proved to be a good introduction. However, to date, I’ve only read the first two books of the series.

I actually own all of the series, and most of it is up on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. According to Goodreads it has been three years since I picked up The Drawing of the Three, the second book of the series. I didn’t think it was quite that long ago since I last picked it up. It proves the point that I need to pull my finger out and start reading these more seriously.

 

Discworld

Reading my way through the Discworld series is going to be a project. I have already made a good deal of progress though. The series has a total of 41 primary works, and to date, I have already read 18 of those.

What I really like about these books is that the wider universe is split down into smaller series. So long as these individual series are read in order, everything will make sense. I have taken the decision to read all of the books in order, but the beauty is, you don’t have to! You don’t even have to read the entire thing. I have some preferred mini-series over others, such as the witches and death series. Whilst I wouldn’t let that stop me reading all of them, anyone has the flexibility of choosing not to read all of them if you don’t want to.

The books in themselves are also reasonably short and very lighthearted. One of Terry Pratchett’s skills is addressing important or difficult topics in a satirical manner. It may take some time to get through the whole series, but it is one that I can chip away at and read quite easily.

 

A Game of Thrones

This is one of the series on my list in which I physically can’t progress at the moment. To date, I have read the entire published works of the A Song of Ice and Fire series twice. There are two books remaining in the series, and I can’t wait for them to come out so I can finally read them!

Whilst talking about this, I’d like to take the opportunity to call out people making angry noises about George R.R. Martin and the series because they’re having to wait for the sequel. Yes, it has been a long time since he published the last book, A Dance of Dragons. However, you’d also complain if he turned the last two books out quickly and didn’t put the full thought and planning into them that makes them as good as they are. If he rushed it, and you thought it was crap, you would also complain. The man can’t win!

They’re his books, and he’ll publish them when he’s happy with them. Don’t hate on him, and certainly don’t give up on the series because you’re impatient. That’s just cutting off your nose to spite your face.

 

The Name of the Wind

The circumstances of The Name of the Wind are very much the same as George R.R. Martin and the A Song of Ice and Fire series. However, we are waiting on just one book to conclude this three-part series (The Slow Regard of Silent Things shown above is a companion novella to the main series, but it is one I have also read).

Again, we have been waiting for a while, and the author is getting a lot of hate for it. I reiterate my comments above. Patience is a virtue. 

 

Dune

Dune is a series I started at the beginning of this year. I was gifted the very first book of the series about five years ago, and it has taken me that long to start it.

To date, I have also read the second book of the series and own the third ready to pick up. It is an interesting series, and it is unique to my TBR in that it is probably the oldest in terms of publication date. I typically pick up more modern books, and in some ways, Dune shows its age in its portrayal of some of its characters. However, I can see it is a series of its time and I haven’t let that stopped me reading it.

There are a total of 8 books in this series, and I can’t wait to pick up the next one. And the next one… you get the drill. 

 

Rivers of London

It’s not very often I have an audiobook series that I’ve made decent progress on, but Rivers of London fits that bill.

I started this series back in 2020 and to date, I have listened to six of the nine primary works currently published. Of course, as with any popular series, there are novellas and side stories that I could delve into if I wanted. However, my priority is to work my way through the main series. I only have three books (as things stand currently), so I think it makes sense to try and get a shift on with these.

 

Saxon Stories

The Saxon Stories is a series by Bernard Cornwell with which I’ve made solid progress… but there’s more work to be done yet.

This is also a lengthy series, currently standing at 13 primary works (unlucky for some). I have read the first five books so far, and I think I’ve actually progressed with the storyline via the TV series beyond this point. That’s a rarity in itself, but I haven’t felt my enjoyment of the books wane or be affected as a result of watching it on TV first.

Having checked out when I read the last book, The Burning Land, I need to pick this series up again. It’s been two years since I made any progress on it. It is clearly a genre and setting I enjoy, because I have read books very recently set around the same period. Maybe I need to focus my efforts on continuing what I’ve already started…

But where’s the fun in that!

 

Skyward

Skyward is a series by Brandon Sanderson that I started just this year. It is the first young adult narrative of his that I have read, and I really enjoyed the first book of the series. The next book of the series is up on my bookshelf and begging to be read. I very nearly added it to my November TBR. Depending on how things go, and whether my mood changes, it may very well worm its way on. We’ll see.

 

Realm of the Elderlings

This last series is another I started this year. Do I sound like a stuck record yet? Maybe now you see my problem? I don’t regret starting this one, as much as I joke about my tendencies to over-commit. Robin Hobb is an author that a friend of mine has been recommending to me for a number of years, and now I see why. In just the latter half of this year, I have already read the first trilogy that makes up a wider 16-book series.

These books have been absolutely fantastic. I’m simultaneously looking forward to a change of setting in the next mini-series (the Live Ship Traders), but also to going back and re-visiting the same characters at a later date. Whereas I have allowed other series mentioned in this post to fall by the wayside, I don’t think that’s going to be the case with Realm of the Elderlings at all!

 

So, those are my top ten series that I really need to get on and finish, as well as airing some dirty laundry on my bad habits!

Have you started or finished any of these series? Are you like me in over-committing to too many series at once? As always, I’d like to have a chat in the comments or on social media.

 

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Book Review: Dune – Frank Herbert

Today’s book review is slightly later than scheduled as I had an exam on Wednesday that I was preparing for. I’m pleased to say that all my efforts were worth it and I passed!

I’m looking forward to sharing today’s review of Dune by Frank Herbert. It is a book I really enjoyed reading earlier this year and is the introduction to a grand science-fiction series but I’m looking forward to exploring in more detail!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 577

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Hodder

Publication Date: 16/07/2015

Rating: ****

 

Goodreads – Dune

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

 

My Thoughts…

Having just read a science-fiction novel before reading Dune, I was excited to immediately pick up another. It’s a genre I am reading a lot more of. But where my prior read, The Feedback Loop, was light and palatable, Dune offered me a fantasy-esque epicness I love! I had sampled of the first few pages of the book casually before, so I had an idea of what I was committing to reading. And yet, it became so much more! Dune was plenty I hoped for, and then some more.

This book is a science-fiction on a grand scale. There is a vast amount of history in world-building that is incorporated even as the opening chapters unfold. It is clear that a lot of investment was put into the characters backstory, and it is entertaining to uncover as the main story begins. There is a lot of familial conflict and resentment that drive the plot. Think of Game of Thrones, but in space! It’s a complex web of alliances and forces, but without being too difficult to follow.

The events that take place are consistent within the universe created and the flow of the narrative is impressive. There are also elements of mystical powers and magic to the story, which I really enjoyed. As a huge fantasy fan, this really appealed to me, although unfortunately the book employed some fantasy tropes I am less than enthusiastic for.

Our protagonist Paul is his mother’s son, and much more besides. Jessica is Bene Gesserit, part of an exclusive sisterhood who have trained themselves to acquire and hone magical abilities. We discover very early on that Paul has inherited these abilities, and Jessica has been training him to control them. What I really didn’t like, however, is that boys are not supposed to have the magical power that Paul does. But of course, Paul having this ability makes him *much better* than women who have it.

Obviously… Why is this gender difference a thing?

There is another character for whom I think the author did injustice, and that is our villain, Baron Harkonnen. Described as so grossly fat that he cannot support his own weight every time he appears in the narrative, Frank Herbert shows an obvious prejudice that he employs to paint this already immoral character in an even worse light. This isn’t the worst though. Around 200 pages in, I feel like the author challenges to make Baron Harkonnen even more of a villain, and decided to do so by making him gay. Bear in mind the book was originally published in 1965, and in this sense it definitely shows its age. Society has a very different attitude now to that which was present when the book was published – and certainly for the better!

Whilst I didn’t love every aspect of the book, overall I enjoyed it very much and added the sequel to my TBR immediately after finishing it (which I have since gone and read). No book is ever perfect, and the great elements outweigh the few gripes I have. It’s an entertaining science-fiction read all the same, and a bit of a classic, so I hope that you will give it a chance for yourself!

Have you read Dune, or any other books in the series? Have you watched the recent film that was released? I’d love to hear in the comments!

 

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Blog Tour Review: Wolf of Mercia – MJ Porter

Happy Friday and welcome to my blog tour review of Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter!

It has been a little while since I last took part in a blog tour and provided a review as part of that. I’m really excited to jump back in and share my thoughts on Wolf of Mercia with you today. As always, before I get into my thoughts on the book, I like to take the opportunity to say thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour… and thank you to MJ Porter as well!

Wolf of Mercia isn’t the first book I have read by this author. I took part in a blog tour and provided a review of the first book, Son of Mercia, earlier this year. If you want to get up to speed with that first book before jumping into today’s review, you can find a link here!

And now, onto today’s review!

 

Wolf of Mercia – MJ Porter

Goodreads – Son of Mercia

As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph.

Icel is becoming a warrior of Mercia, but King Ecgberht of Wessex still holds the Mercian settlement  of Londonia and its valuable mint.

King Wiglaf of Mercia is determined that the last bulwark be reclaimed from his sworn enemy to complete his rehabilitation as Mercia’s rightful ruler.

In the heart of the shield wall, Icel suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the battle and thrust into the retreating enemy stronghold where he must take on the pretence of a Wessex warrior to survive and exact a cunning plan to bring down the Wessex force cowering behind the ancient walls.

His allegiances are tested and the temptation to make new allies is overwhelming but Icel must succeed if he’s ever to see Tamworth again and bring about King Wiglaf’s victory, or will he be forced to join the enemy?

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3tNhWTG

 

My Thoughts…

One of my favourite things about this series is the unique perspective of our protagonist. Icel is a young man in a world full of strife. Thrust into a war he has no desire to take part in, we get to see Icel battle with his own internal conflict and his loyalties in this book. In this kind of time period it’s typical for men like Icel to become warriors. It is the expectation.

However, Icel is a man who likes to heal. Having spent his childhood learning how to mend hurts and treat wounds… he does not enjoy inflicting such on others. This is particularly prevalent in the first book, and I really enjoyed his perspective. What I have also enjoyed through reading Wolf of Mercia is that we get to see a lot of character development that has taken place. Icel still does not relish hurting people, however he has stepped up in his duty to defend his country and he will do what is necessary, even if he doesn’t enjoy it. He has grown up from the cowardly boy he used to be.

Even though he can step up and do his part as a warrior, Icel maintains his authenticity in not wanting to do what he has to do. Although we’ve seen a marked change in him, his core principles have stayed the same. It is a challenging angle to take with a character, but MJ Porter has done this very well. She has enabled this development whilst keeping the character fundamentally the same in terms of his root beliefs and values. As one of the biggest selling points for me for this book and series, I’m really glad this has been done so well!

There is a lot more action in Wolf of Mercia than the first book of the series, and through the perspective of Icel, we are quite literally thrown into the middle of it. From the first battle in a shield wall in the opening chapters to the subterfuge of hiding amongst the enemy, there is never a dull moment. It took our main character completely out of the context we have seen him previously and gave him the opportunity to grow. I feel like events like these can either make or break a character… And it certainly made Icel. he is one of my favourite book characters.

I flew through this book in just a handful of days. The narrative and storyline are so immersive that it is easy to get lost in. It is the kind of book you can lose track of time in. The chapters are just the right length to convey what is going on, without being too lengthy either. It is just the perfect balance to justify telling yourself that it’s okay to read just one more chapter… Just one. But it never is!

On the whole, Wolf of Mercia, compared to the first book of the series Son of Mercia, exceeded my expectations and it is a very easy five star rating from me. This is a fantastic sequel to the series and personally I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Author Bio

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. They were raised in the shadow of a building that they believed housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia – so their writing destiny was set. The first novel in their new Anglo-Saxon series for Boldwood Son of Mercia was published in February 2022.

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Blog Tour Review: Son of Mercia – MJ Porter

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Son of Mercia by MJ Porter! It has been a few months since I last took part in a blog tour, but I knew I wanted to take part in this one as soon as I saw it! Granted, I missed Rachel’s first email about it, but the day she contacted me in the hopes of signing me up was a happy one for us all! As always, I want to say a massive thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and to the author for organising the tour and giving me the opportunity to take part!

It’s a pleasure to be able to share my thoughts with you today!

 

Son of Mercia – MJ Porter

Goodreads – Son of Mercia

Tamworth, Mercia AD825.

The once-mighty kingdom of Mercia is in perilous danger.

Their King, Beornwulf lies dead and years of bitter in-fighting between the nobles, and cross border wars have left Mercia exposed to her enemies.

King Ecgberht of Wessex senses now is the time for his warriors to strike and exact his long-awaited bloody revenge on Mercia.

King Wiglaf, has claimed his right to rule Mercia, but can he unite a disparate Kingdom against the might of Wessex who are braying for blood and land?

Can King Wiglaf keep the dragons at bay or is Mercia doomed to disappear beneath the wings of the Wessex wyvern?

Can anyone save Mercia from destruction?

Purchase Link – Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

The opening of the novel sets the scene of a turbulent and unstable way of life. Conflict, strife and war are in abundance. Mercia is left, after the death of Beornwulf, to be governed by weak and non battle-seasoned warriors. It does not bode well.

I enjoy how the narrative is shared mostly from the perspective of Icel. In a society where being a warrior or a skilled craftsmen, such as a blacksmith, Icel does not fit in. He detests violence, and instead he feels in himself a calling to heal. It is clear that he does not know something about his past even from the early chapters of the book, as he is frequently scorned by those around him, and not just for shirking his duty to do what’s considered ‘women’s work’. Some of Icel’s background is unveiled to us readers via another perspective in the book, which is a nice touch in helping us understand the circumstances, whilst keeping Icel ignorant.

This tumultuous situation is laid out for the first third of the book, at which point, events come to a point that put young I saw and the rest of Tamworth in danger. This is transformative for Icel. He always retains hatred for violence, but his exposure to danger increases tenfold and forces him to challenge himself in new ways.

I like Icel’s perspective throughout the book because we view the events of the novel through a lens which is not dissimilar to our own. The narrative is set in a time when men are expected to become warriors. Valour, honour, and domination are expected and it is difficult to pull off a narrative from a character of this nature and keep them relatable to the audience. It’s not impossible; I’m a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell‘s The Saxon Stories series (a.k.a. The Last Kingdom), and any fans of those books will really appreciate this book as it offers a similar setting (9th century Britain). It differs in that it focuses on the power struggles within English factions.

If you love history then the world-building in this book is something that you can really get behind. Every care is taken to set the scene of a politically turbulent England. At the same time, this is well-balanced with a wide range of characters that complement the story. There are a lot of characters that come and go throughout the book but I wasn’t confused by this. The author does a fantastic job of reminding us of who is who wherever relevant, which is a great help in following the interwoven storylines!

The pace of the narrative is enjoyable too. There is action and world-building aplenty, so neither is neglected. It makes for a great standalone novel, but if you are as invested as I am after reading it then you will want to follow and continue the series as I do!

 

Author Bio

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. Raised in the shadow of a building that was believed to house the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia, meant that the author’s writing destiny was set.

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