Tag: bookaddict

Top Ten Tuesday – Unread Books on My Shelves I Want to Read Soon!

Just like every bookworm, I have a stack of books on my shelves waiting and begging to be read. In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I feature some of the unread books I will look to prioritise in the coming months.

Are you intrigued for today’s Top Ten Tuesday list? Let’s get stuck in!


The Ember Blade

The Ember Blade is my first feature in this Top Ten Tuesday and a fantasy by an author I haven’t tried before. I love the sound of the synopsis and I confess I was a little biased by how beautiful the cover is!

I’m excited to try a new author! Whilst I do love to return to firm favourites, I try to stretch myself now and then with something new. This is in the safety net of my favourite genre (fantasy) and does have some typical tropes of the genre. Still, I’m interested to see how the author takes these and plays events out.

The book has an average 4.2 star rating on Goodreads with over 5000 ratings. It sounds promising! The only factor I need to consider is that this book is over 800 pages long. I need to try and split out some of my larger reads so I’m not bombarding myself all at once.


Spare and Found Parts

In contrast, Spare and Found Parts is a relatively short read that will take me out of my comfort zone.

Combine science-fiction with a steampunk vibe, toss in some romance and an epidemic, and you have quite the setting! It’s unusual and not like anything I have ever seen before. I picked up a copy of the book precisely for this reason.

This book is also great in that it will make for a great read in between some of my larger ones – as both a shorter read and its unusual setting. It will be a complete change regardless of what I read around it!


Les Miserables

Les Mis is an epic classic that I’m looking forward to getting to! At the same time, it is going to be a mammoth read. I need to pick it up as and when I’m in the mood.

I’ve had a quick read of the first few pages and the overall impression was good. I was worried initially that the writing style might be a little bit tricky, but didn’t find this with the sample. I’ll have to try and spread this out from some of the other chunky reads on this list. I can’t read too many large books at once.


Wolves of the Calla

Speaking of chunky reads, Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King is another such book in this Top Ten Tuesday post. It’s also the fifth book in The Dark Tower series, which is an ongoing read.

As I’m trying to pick up and finish more series this year, Wolves of the Calla is a natural choice. It means then I will have just two books left afterwards to complete the series.

Not only that, but I have really enjoyed each book in The Dark Tower series to date. They are cleverly written and I enjoy the diversity of Mid-world versus Earth in various time periods of history. It’s an interesting contrast and I hope to see more of in future books. We’ll see!


The Devil and the Dark Water

After reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, I’m looking forward to picking up a second book by Stuart Turton.

I featured this book in a First Lines Friday post and I loved the introduction to this book. With this in mind, I hope to pick this up before long as a change of genre and to re-explore the writing of an author I hope to read more of in future.


The Bone Collector

I have been threatening to read The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver for the longest time! It’s been sat on my shelf for some time and it’s time to give it some love!

I recall we’ve owned a copy of the book this long because I distinctly remember my sister getting a copy of this whilst she was at university… about six and a half years ago!

Maybe time to pick it up, no?


Fool’s Errand

I’ve been trying to get to Fool’s Errand for a couple of months anyway. Robin Hobb is fast becoming one of my favourite authors of all time. I have loved and rated each book in the Realm of the Elderlings series 5 stars so far.

Fool’s Errand will be the seventh book of the series that I pick up. Will I keep up the streak of five star ratings? I sincerely hope so!

Obsidio

Obsidio is the last book I need to read in Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman‘s The Illuminae Files. Although the stories are angled towards a young adult audience, I have a really enjoyed the books and characters so far.

With this being the last in the series, it makes sense to pick up this final book. I want to see events I have read so far wrapped up, but also to mark the series as complete.

I love Top Ten Tuesday posts like these as they are often great reminders to get to these final books! 


Master of Sorrows

I’ve been trying to get to Master of Sorrows for a couple of months as well, but I’ve not managed it so far. It’s a book I pulled out of my TBR jar, so I do need to pick it up before long. At the same time, I’m not taking anything else out of that until this book is finished!

I’ve heard rave reviews about this book and series so far. Had I not pulled this out of the jar, I probably would have held off starting this series. However, the jar has spoken and so I will be picking up this book very soon.


Elektra

I have read another book by Jennifer Saint, Ariadne. I’ve also come to enjoy Greek mythology from other writers such as Pat Barker and even Stephen Fry.

Greek mythology is not my strong point, but that is precisely why I’m trying to pick up more books in the genre. It also makes an interesting change from my usual preferences. I’m always trying to read out of my comfort zone, but this is a comfortable step as I’ve already tried the author once before!

As books on this list compare, it’s one of the shortest ones I can pick up. In that sense, I have a lot of flexibility as to when I can read the book.


Have you read any of the books I feature in today’s Top Ten Tuesday? Do you have any books you would recommend I pick up first?

As always, I’m really excited to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 21st April 2024

I stepped back on the blog schedule this week to give myself some breathing space and get back to reading. In today’s Sunday Summary, you’ll see why that’s worked out for me compared to reading in previous weeks!

As a consequence of making that decision, I shared only one other post this week. That was a discussion post, in which I shared five reasons why we should re-read books. If you haven’t checked out that post already, or have your own ideas as to why re-reads are the best kind of reads, then I’d love you to hop over there and have a chat with me about it!

 

Books Read

 

Empire of the Vampire

Having only read 100 pages of Empire of the Vampire in the last two weeks, I wanted to step up my reading game and make more progress in this book over the course of this week. I have read more this week than I’ve managed in the last fortnight; as of this Sunday Summary, I’m now on page 384.

I am slower with re-reads anyway, but changes in my lifestyle mean I don’t have as much time to read. When I’m picking up a chunky book such as this, it’s naturally going to take a while!

I was hoping to have this read by now and not to have to set it aside for another reading obligation, but such is life. I have one last commitment coming up in a week’s time that I need to prioritise. So, I will have to put this book down for a bit. Maybe the break will do me good so that when I come back to it refreshed I can dive back in.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

It’s wild how much progress I’ve made on audiobooks in the last week! For my least favourite form of reading, it’s currently working out really well for me.

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 25% into the audiobook Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith. I had approximately 6 hours of audio to listen to in order to finish the book. I listened to the first couple of those when doing gardening and pottering around the house on Tuesday. The remainder of the book was devoured in one sitting yesterday, whilst doing housework and a craft project!

Needless to say, the speed of how quickly I listened to this audio tells you how engaged I was with it. I love this subject matter and I found it both easy and interesting to listen to. I can also see it as a book that I will revisit again in future. It is the kind that can be used as a reference again and again.

 

The Icepick Surgeon

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also started a second audiobook this week. The Icepick Surgeon is an interesting read about how those in the scientific field have blurred the lines of morality in the name of science and ‘doing good’.

So far I have only listened to the first couple of chapters in full and 75% of the third, but I’m already interested in the subject. I can already tell that this is going to be another easy and engaging listen. So, hopefully I’ll have as good an update for you next week as I did with Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

 

Books Discovered

Non-fiction reads are working really well for me right now. That’s partly the reason why I have added another to my reading list this week.

I was introduced to an article and individuals by a colleague at work around a condition she suffers from. It is one that is often swept under the carpet and little known about. Even to date, there are people who are bed-bound, unable to feed themselves or even tolerate any form of contact as a result of the condition.

That condition is myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) for short, or also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. The condition is being talked about a little more now as a consequence of the pandemic and a result of a long-Covid sufferers experiencing similar symptoms. It’s hoped that research into this will ultimately help ME suffers, but they have waited far too long.

The Puzzle Solver is a biography of one family’s experience of the condition, and it is awful to realise many exist this way. I don’t say live for a reason, because many don’t have a proper life at all.

 

Coming Up…

I’m going to share a Top Ten Tuesday post for the first time in a few weeks. This week’s topic is ‘unread books on my shelves that I hope to pick up soon’. God knows I have a lot (and less time to read these days), but I still want to try!

Next Saturday, I will be reviewing The Maiden of Florence as part of the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. This is the obligation for which I need to put down Empire of the Vampire temporarily! This is a historical fiction novel based on a true story. I love the sound of the setting and I think female characters and rights are going to be very prominent in this narrative; I’m looking forward to picking it up!

As always, I’ll be back this time next week with my Sunday Summary wrap-up update. I hope you can stay tuned for that!

Until then, see you around!

 

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Discussion Post – 5 Reasons to Re-Read Books!

I love to re-read books! Whilst some may question the value of doing so, there are some great reasons you may want to re-visit a previous read! I take a look at some of those in today’s discussion post.

Let’s get to it!

 

Five Reasons to Re-Read Books!

Reminder of Events in a Series to date

The reason I am picking up a re-read right now is that I’m looking to read a sequel shortly. I read Empire of the Vampire a couple of years ago and especially, I had Covid at the time. My memory of what has happened so far is a little hazy, so I’m picking up the book now, as a refresher of what has happened so far ready for when I pick up that sequel!


Enjoy a New Edition

It may have bonus content, or in my case with Empire of the Vampire, I can enjoy coloured artwork as opposed to black and white. Either way, I got a pretty new edition of this book after reading the standard edition and I want to enjoy it.

So I am. Immensely!


Re-experience the love of a favourite

Another reason it’s great to re-visit books is that those you are inclined to pick up again are usually firm favourites. There is nothing more fun than re-visiting a favourite book, series or characters. I found this especially helpful in the past when I’ve been in a reading slump and unsure of what I want to read next. Picking up a guaranteed five star is the way to get yourself back in.


Encourage Others to Read

Especially if you are in a position like me where you like to talk about what you’re reading, re-visiting books is a chance to feature them again.

If you’ve ever thought about the power of advertisement, you’ll find its repeated exposure that gets people to engage. In a sense, it’s the same with books! By featuring a book or series repeatedly on my blog or social media, I may persuade any readers who were on the fence the first time to give it a try.

 

Enjoy Details Missed the First Time

I often find in re-reads that I pick up on details I miss first time round because I now know some context. What may seem insignificant first time round can be cleverly hidden foreshadowing. I love that kind of detail. I’ve read books where it’s taken multiple re-reads and I still find something new each and every time.

Those are the best ones!


Summary

There are plenty of reasons to go back and re-read books you’ve picked up and loved previously. Whilst I’ve covered some of my favourite reasons, there are many more!

Do you re-read books, and if so, why? If the reason isn’t included in this post I want your take on the subject!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 14th April 2024

Welcome to another Sunday Summary update. Admittedly I suspect this post is going to be on the light side, as will become apparent. I have made some reading progress, but not very much due to events out of my control.

First, let’s take a look at the blog posts I shared throughout the week. Later than usual, I shared my Monthly TBR for April. It was always going to be late anyway, but it ended up being even later still as a result of the events I mentioned above.

On Friday I shared my latest feature in my First Lines Friday series. In that post, I feature a non-fiction book I added to my reading list recently after watching a TV series based on it. I hope you can take a moment to check both of those posts out!

 

Books Read

 

Empire of the Vampire

In my last Sunday Summary post I shared that I’d only read 25 pages of Empire of the Vampire. Progress is better than that this week, but I am still reading this book as of this post.

It’s awkward to explain without going back for a minute because I’ve not really shared that I started seeing someone yet. But, a couple of months ago I started seeing my boyfriend Shane. Well, somebody close to him passed away on Monday. We ended up taking temporary custody of their dog and making arrangements for her return to family on Tuesday.

From there on all my plans for the week went awry. The charity cake sale I was supposed to bake for this week ended up with donations of the shop-bought variety. But, life happens.

In between everything, I did read about 80 pages of Empire of the Vampire. It’s not much to write about, but it’s something.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

Audiobook progress has been better this week thankfully!

I’ve not had as much time as I would usually to sit down and read in the usual way. However, audio has stepped into this gap a little as I’ve been able to listen to it in and around commuting, lunch hours etc.

As of this Sunday Summary post I have listened to a further six chapters, bringing me to a total 25% progress.

 

Books Discovered

With everything that has gone on this week, I haven’t really had the chance to discover any new reads this week. Given I’ve not done much in the way of reading progress either, this is not a bad thing!

 

Coming Up…

I want to try and catch up on some reading this week. So, I’m taking the blog schedule down to just one post mid-week and my Sunday Summary at the end of the week.

The plan is to share a discussion post about re-reading books, and why we can get so much more out of our favourite books by doing so! That’s obviously not at all inspired by my current re-read of Empire of the Vampire… obviously 😉

Today’s Sunday Summary is a relatively quick one, but I hope you enjoyed reading nonetheless. Until my next post, have a great week and me, your bookshelves ever be overflowing!

 

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First Lines Friday – 12/04/2024

Hello readers and welcome to my next instalment in the First Lines Friday regular series I feature on my blog.

This week’s feature is an upcoming read I’m looking forward to. Full disclosure here – it’s a book that takes an eye-opening view of the pandemic and how the NHS were left to handle the worldwide crisis on our shores. If it’s a topic you don’t want to read about right now, then this post (and book) isn’t for you.

I, however, am interested in the subject. If you’ve watched a Covid-19 related documentary on ITV lately then you may have an inkling of what is coming up.

If you’re ready, let’s take a look!

 

He lies on hospital sheets, but he’s drowning. Behind closed doors, with neither fanfare nor drama, he’s been quietly drowning all night. The act of voicing distress – alerting another human being to his plight – takes spare air he no longer possesses.

Wide mouth, wide eyes, face stunned and stricken. The mask clamps down on skin slick with sweat. His lips are grey, fingertips the colour of bruises. And though the oxygen roars, the highest flow we can manage, it’s still not enough, not remotely.


Breathtaking – Rachel Clarke

Genre: Non-fiction

Pages: 240

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

Publication Date: 28 Jan 2021

 


Goodreads – Breathtaking

How does it feel to confront a pandemic from the inside, one patient at a time? To bridge the gulf between a perilously unwell patient in quarantine and their distraught family outside? To be uncertain whether the protective equipment you wear fits the science or the size of the government stockpile? To strive your utmost to maintain your humanity even while barricaded behind visors and masks?

Rachel is a palliative care doctor who looked after the most gravely unwell patients on the Covid-19 wards of her hospital. Amid the tensions, fatigue and rising death toll, she witnessed the courage of patients and NHS staff alike in conditions of unprecedented adversity. For all the bleakness and fear, she found that moments that could stop you in your tracks abounded. People who rose to their best, upon facing the worst, as a microbe laid waste to the population.


My Thoughts…

The ITV drama of the same name was based on revelations in this book. It was a heart-breaking watch, but I don’t want that to deter me from reading the source material.

It’s hard to stomach, but the stories and people within are real, even if their identities are protected under pseudonyms. Many undoubtedly suffered in the pandemic for a lot of reasons, and I think a lot of the detail was downplayed during the pandemic to avoid scaring the public. Now that the trauma isn’t so fresh, I want to read those stories. Understand what really happened. Pay my own respects to those who tragically lost their lives because we had no idea what hit us.

I appreciate this book isn’t going to be everybody’s taste, and that’s okay. There are many who will find this kind of book painful. I’m not one to shy away from a tricky subject though.

If you’re still here, thanks for taking the time to read today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read or watched Breathtaking? What did you think?

 

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Monthly TBR – April 2024

Hi readers and welcome to a slightly later than planned Monthly TBR post!

To get through a slightly longer reading list in April, I’m making an effort to listen to more audio than usual. I’ve found in the past that non-fiction works best in this format, so that’s what I’ll be listening to. This also works great for my goal of reading more than 15 nonfiction books by the end of the year.

In addition to this, I’m picking up two fantasy reads and a sci-fi physically, and lastly, one e-ARC that I need to review by the 27th April. It’s a full list, so let’s get stuck in!

 

Monthly TBR


Empire of the Vampire

My first read of the month is my re-read of Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff. I’m looking forward to picking up the relatively new release of the sequel. However, before I dive into that I wanted a refresher of events so far.

As you’ll see from my last Sunday Summary post, I’m enjoying this read so far! I started reading it last month but had to put it aside for blog tour obligations. However, I’m back into it in full swing and loving the story as much as I did the first time.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

My first listen of the month is Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? Admittedly I started this audio on a whim after finishing The Atlas Six, but I have no regrets!

It’s just the kind of non-fiction that I can consume easily. I’m already 10 chapters or 2 hours 20mins in, and that’s been pretty easy to work through.

I’m looking forward to listening to more of this audio in the comings days, as well as looking at the exercises that come with it.

 

The Maiden of Florence

Next to feature on this monthly TBR is my one reading obligation this month, The Maiden of Florence. As I’ve already shared, I am reviewing this book on the 27th of the month.

I signed up for the blog tour as I was interested in the story’s ties to the Medici family. I love historical fiction anyway, but it reminds me of my favourite series in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I could play the Ezio storylines over and over and not get bored!

It’s a period of history I haven’t read in a while, and all about casting light on a female character cast aside by history… which has me intrigued!

 

The Icepick Surgeon

The second non-fiction audio I hope to listen to this month is The Icepick Surgeon. I discovered this book when an Instagrammer I follow shared she was reading it in March. Initially I’d hoped to read it then as well. However, time as always runs away and I didn’t get to it at the same time.

But, a month late is better than never! As someone who enjoyed exploring this side of science in psychology, I’m looking forward to reading further around the subject!

 

Master of Sorrows

Master of Sorrows… how many monthly TBR’s has this been on now? Three perhaps? I’ve just not gotten to it so far, but I’m determined to at the very least start it in April.

Last month I deliberately didn’t draw another book out my TBR jar give myself chance to read this one. Given I’ve ended up carrying it over again, the same applies this month.

 

Stretch Goal

The Long Earth

On the off-chance I manage to read all the books above, I’m going to pick up The Long Earth next.

It has been on my TBR since February 2018, but I’ve managed to borrow a copy from someone at work who was discussing it with me recently. He has not long finished it, so I want to state my intentions to pick it up as soon as I can so we can compare notes!


Summary

I’ve plenty of reading to do and as of this post, I have two at currently reading status and no completions! Best get a wriggle on!

Have you read any of the books I feature in this post?

Until next time, happy reading!

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Sunday Summary – 7th April 2024

Good evening readers and welcome to another Sunday Summary update full of bookish news and going on from here! Make yourselves comfortable so we can dive in to this week’s update post.

As always, let’s recap the blog posts I have shared in the last week. My first post of the week was a blog tour post featuring Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I originally published my review of this book back in February. But when I saw the tour invite, I promised to revamp it and share it as part of the tour. It worked out nicely as the author gets more publicity, and I already had a good deal of content prepared to share.

I shared a second blog to post just a couple of days later – this one for Enemies of Mercia by M.J. Porter. This was a brand-new read and review obligation, so that was my priority for this week. I really enjoyed this sixth instalment to the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles. If you have been following my reviews of the series on my blog, you’ll be especially interested to check out this latest review!

I shared a further post on Saturday given that those tour obligations meant I couldn’t feature my regular monthly wrap-up at the beginning of this month. Instead, that went live on Saturday, and I had plenty to recap in terms of reading throughout March. If you want a summary of the books I picked up, that is the post to take a look at!

 

Books Read

 

Enemies of Mercia

The first priority I had this week was to finish my read of Enemies of Mercia by M.J. Porter. As you will see above, I had a spot on the blog tour organised for its publication, and I had the pleasure of kicking the tour off. Needless to say, it was important that I finish this read in time to share my full thoughts on the whole book.

I enjoyed Enemies of Mercia every bit as much as I expected I would. Having read five books in the series to date, I had high expectations for the characters and storyline. I wasn’t disappointed!

If you love historical fiction set during the time Vikings came to Britain, then check out this book. Whilst the main events of this storyline don’t feature Vikings too heavily, they have already had their influence on the setting and characters so far. They are more prevalent in earlier books of the series, so I recommend checking them out.

Naturally, if you want to find out more about this book, or get access to links to reviews of the early book in the series, check out that review post I shared on Thursday.

 

Empire of the Vampire

As a result of prioritising Enemies of Mercia, Empire of the Vampire took a backseat this week. I did pick the book up one evening before bed, but admittedly only read 25 pages!

So, as of this Sunday Summary post, that puts me at page 196. Now that all my immediate obligations are out of the way, Empire of the Vampire will be my main reading focus once again.

 

The Atlas Six

After sharing in last week’s Sunday Summary post that I was so close to the conclusion of this book, I made it my priority to finish this audio this week.

In fact, I finished this audiobook on Monday. As it happens, the audiobook version I was listening to has quite a bit of bonus content at the end, so I was even closer to the finish line than I thought in that post!

I really enjoyed the story overall, although I wouldn’t say it lives up to the hype it’s gotten in my opinion. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I will continue to read the rest of the series. I’ve enjoyed it as a standalone and I think it has some interesting ideas.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before

After finishing The Atlas Six, I looked for my next audiobook to pick up. On a whim, I chose to listen to Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before.

Of late, I find non-fiction a lot easier to listen to than fiction. I find it easier to follow, and it has become my preferred method of reading this type of book. To try and pick up the pace with audiobooks a bit more, and to listen to something different, I deliberately chose a non-fiction this time.

As of this Sunday Summary post, I have listened to the first four chapters of the book, which is about an hour and 20 minutes of the audio. If you’re interested, that works out at about 15% progress.

Next week I’ll be spending several hours on Monday and Tuesday evening baking for a charity cake sale at work. That would be the perfect opportunity to make further progress as I won’t be able to conventionally sit down and read during that time.

 

Books Discovered

I picked up some book recommendations around the topic of Neurodiversity this week. It’s a topic that’s been discussed at work, and several staff (including myself) put forward recommendations of content on the subject.

Someone seconded my recommendation of Unmasked by Ellie Middleton, which was great! They also shared a couple of other books which I added to my reading list – Untypical and Dirty Laundry.

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post of next week will be my reading list for April. As I am sharing this list quite late, you’re already seeing some of the books I’ll feature show up in my reading. However, circumstantially I had blog tours come up at the beginning of the month which inevitably delayed my regular monthly posts. I am looking forward to sharing that list though and giving you some more detail on what books I plan to pick up shortly!

Later in the week I bring back my First Lines Friday regular feature post. It’s been a few weeks since I shared one of these, and I’m looking forward to bringing it back. They are a fun type of post to share. Depending on my choice of book, I get to feature a great book I love, or get excited for one coming up on my reading list! Stick around to find out which I share in Friday’s post.

I’ll wrap up next week with another Sunday Summary post just like this one. If I have as much reading progress to share with you, then I’ll be on the right track!

Until then, have a great week and happy reading!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – March 2024

A steadier pace was the aim for March, and taking the pressure off reading at such a pace was definitely needed and appreciated! Whilst I didn’t get to all the books I had hoped to on March’s TBR, as of this monthly wrap-up post I am still on track to read 60 books by the end of the year.

Shall we get into this monthly wrap-up post and look at the books I read in March?

 

Books Read

 

Hogfather

Hogfather was a carryover from February’s TBR. I had read about 50% of the book already, and my first aim of the month was to complete this read.

In the end, I rated Hogfather three stars. I enjoyed the play on belief and the festive vibe of the book. However, it wasn’t my favourite book in the Death mini-series.

The Discworld books are so readable. Just a few days into the month, I read the final 50% to finish the book. I’m glad I continued with the series. It’s the longest series I am progressing with and I hope to continue on further with it this year!

 

At the Stroke of Midnight

The first of my blog tour obligations this month was to read and review At the Stroke of Midnight by Jenni Keer.

I loved the sound of the book as it’s very reminiscent of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. It has a Groundhog Day theme just the same, set in a Manor House style setting.

Naturally it does has its differences, and the mystery that unravels within are compelling. I also enjoyed the development of the protagonist throughout! If you want to check out that review, here is a link to that here.

 

Raven Lord

Next I started my next blog your read, and the first of two historical fiction novels featuring Vikings!

Raven Lord is the sequel to Warrior Prince, which I reviewed last year. I really enjoyed that first book, and also the sequel, because it features Vikings as we know it, but in a unique setting. Rather than exploring British history, instead Harald and his band of warriors venture through Eastern Europe to secure fame and riches before trying to reclaim the throne of Norway.

The narrative style of this book is one that I love to come back to time and again. Not only that, but the book is full of action and political intrigue in equal measure. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the sequel and I can’t wait to see where the characters end up next.

As with the previous book, here is a link to my full review if you want to read on about this.

 

Enemies of Mercia

The second historical fiction book I picked up throughout the month of March is Enemies of Mercia by M.J. Porter.

This book is the sixth instalment in the authors Eagle of Mercia Chronicles series. Whilst this series does go back to British history, a subset of the genre I have read a lot of, the protagonist makes these books. In that review post shared on Thursday, I expressed that protagonist Icel is one of my favourite characters of the genre! He has undergone so much character development in the series to date, and there are no signs of him stopping.

This book also balances action and intrigue very well, so that fans of either can respect each part without one or the other overwhelming the narrative.

 

The Atlas Six

I’m pleased to share in this monthly wrap-up post that I finished The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake this week!

It has been a long time coming. Of all the ways in which I read books, I am the slowest with audio. It’s not my preferred reading method, but it does have its benefits. Over the last month or so, I have spent most of the time listening to The Atlas Six whilst working on craft projects.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, but I am undecided as yet as to whether I’m going to continue with the series. The Atlas Six is a very hyped read. Most of the time, I don’t feel that these books live up to that. As good as it was, I think the same of The Atlas Six.

I have doubts as to whether I’m invested enough in the characters and the story to go out of my way to read more. Ultimately, I have a ridiculous reading list with lots of fantasy on there already. Do I need books I’m not sure about on that list? No.

 

Empire of the Vampire

The last book I’ll talk about in today’s monthly wrap-up post, as it is my current read, is Empire of the Vampire byJay Kristoff. I started this book a little after mid-month. However, I had to temporarily set this aside in order to read Enemies of Mercia ahead of my review date.

As of this post, I am 171 pages into this 720 page narrative. It’s a healthy start, and one I’m looking forward to building on in the next few days! This is a re-read, so not the first time I’ve picked up. However, I am enjoying reading a special edition this time round. It’ll also set me in good stead to pick up the sequel soon!

 

Summary

I’ve managed to break even this month and read the number of books required to meet my reading goal. Currently, I can’t ask for more!

Not only that, but I’ve enjoyed the books I picked up in March, the variety between them and I have an exciting monthly TBR coming up to get hyped about!

 

Thanks for checking out this monthly wrap-up post! What have you been reading recently? Have you read any of the books in today’s list? Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

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Blog Tour Review: Enemies of Mercia – M.J. Porter

When I saw Enemies of Mercia on tour with Rachel’s Random Resources, I signed up immediately! Regular readers will know that I have reviewed prior books in this series as part of blog tours before. If you want to get up to speed with any books from the series so far, here are some links to check those out!

Son of Mercia     Wolf of Mercia     Warrior of Mercia

Eagle of Mercia       Protector of Mercia

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this latest tour, as well as to M.J. Porter. I’m looking forward to discussing specifics on why I loved this latest instalment… so how about we get stuck in?!

 

Enemies of Mercia – M.J. Porter

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 339

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date:  04 Apr 2024

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Enemies of Mercia

A King’s command. A warrior’s quest for the truth…

Tamworth AD835

Following Icel’s epic rescue of Lord Coenwulf’s children from their almost certain death, King Wiglaf is forced to call upon Icel’s loyal services once more.

Furious that the conspirators behind the audacious move to snatch the children have yet to face justice, he despatches Icel to hunt down the enemy of Mercia and discover who seeks to conspire against the throne.

The dangerous mission will take Icel into the heartland of enemy-held Wessex to Winchester and onto Canterbury. As the web of lies and deceit grows, Icel must battle to discover the truth whilst keeping himself and his allies safe.

But those who conspire against the King have much to lose and will stop at nothing to prevent Icel discovering the truth.

Once more, Icel’s life is endangered as he tries to protect Mercia from her enemies who threaten Mercia’s kingly line.

 

Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/EnemiesofMerciasocial

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

Although the wider Eagle of Mercia series is set during a time of Viking invasion and population in Britain, Enemies of Mercia focuses on internal conflict between Saxon kingdoms. I’ve enjoyed the depth and detail we’ve explored in this series so far – and this sixth instalment builds upon that cleverly. 

Events in Enemies of Mercia follow on almost directly after those of book 5. What I also really enjoyed about this book is how the consequences of those events have shaped both characters and the events that follow. Without giving anything away, it’s something we’ve not seen before in the series, and from a development point of view, I really enjoyed this. More on that later.

The driver of the plot in this instalment is very political. That said, we follow Icel amongst other characters in their quest to find out the truth of a conspiracy to murder heirs to the Mercian throne. This inevitably leads them into all kinds of danger, battle, and desperate chases for their lives. If you enjoy fast-paced and action-driven historical fiction, Enemies of Mercia will not disappoint! I really enjoyed the balance of the underlying motive, together with the actual investigation and elements of danger our protagonist inevitably gets embroiled in. Icel is in more danger than ever as he tries to quash a dangerous plot against fellow Mercians.

 

Setting

Stepping into enemy territory was never going to be a walk in the park. Doing so to try and uncover a conspiracy to murder innocent children, and make it back to Mercia and King Wiglaf with evidence is a challenge. Nevertheless, that is the quest Icel embarks on at the request of his King.

By nature, stepping into hostile territory is fraught with danger. It also incorporates a lot of tension into the narrative, which was a real contributing factor in keeping me reading on…and on, and just another chapter… 

Many of the places we find ourselves in during the narrative should be familiar to readers from previous books, or even from a basic understanding of English geography. Some place names do very slightly from modern day, but they are distinct enough to identify what is happening where. Geography was probably one of my worst subjects at school and I still didn’t have a problem.

 

Characters

Icel undergoes yet more character development in this latest instalment of the series. Without giving away spoilers as to events of the previous book, in Enemies of Mercia Icel suffers physically and with his confidence as a result of those final events. Instead of being the strong warrior who recovers to go charging to the next battle headlong, instead we see a slightly more reserved young man.

It changes the dynamic of the narrative as well. Instead, we see some attempts at avoiding conflict where possible. It’s fair to say he is a bit more of a tactical individual who would rather pick his battles as opposed to have others choose it for him. That’s not to say he always gets his way, because this world wouldn’t be what it was without perpetual infighting.

I enjoyed seeing Icel reflect on his experiences to date and use them as an opportunity to grow. Whilst he may think himself a lesser man for his predicament, I think it’s a big plus, and shows a level of maturity, that he doesn’t just dive in and consider the consequences later.

Icel is by far one of my favourite characters, not just in this book or series, but in the genre. He is a complex character that has grown considerably in the series to date. I highly doubt that will cease to be true in further books in the series either, which has me asking where he will go next!

 

Narrative Style

Enemies of Mercia, with its conspiracies and unfolding drama, is a fast-paced page turner. I read this book in a handful of settings, purely because once I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down again! Action and plot threads unravelling consistently mean that readers will always want to pick up just one more chapter. At least, I did!

The chapters in this book are also a great length to keep readers engaged. They are neither too short, nor so long that we lose interest. This is also great if you do need to pick up and put down the book around other things. It makes the text approachable for readers of any commitment level.

The same can be said for the length of the book. There is plenty of page count to explore a detailed narrative in Enemies of Mercia without becoming too long or overwhelming.

 

Summary

I really enjoyed this sixth instalment to the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles, and I can’t wait to see where future events take us. It is abundantly clear Icel still has a part to play in the fate of Mercia and the other Kingdoms yet to come. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

 

Author Bio

M.J. 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.

Social Media Links –

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/coloursofunison

Instagram: MJ Porter (@m_j_porter) • Instagram photos and videos

Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/MJPorterNews

Bookbub profile: MJ Porter Books – BookBub

Blog Tour Review: Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

In today’s post, I have the privilege to share my review of Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I originally shared my review back in February, but I’m back today having touched up my review to share as part of the blog tour!

As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author Karl Drinkwater. I received a review copy of the earlier edition of the book and as you will see, I thought the book was fantastic!

If you’re looking for a fun science-fiction novel to pick up and potentially explore the further series, look no further!

 

Lost Solace – Karl Drinkwater

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 258

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Organic Apocalypse

Original Publication Date: 15 Oct 2017

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Lost Solace

They’re called the Lost Ships … but sometimes they come back.

And when they do the crews are missing, while the ships have been strangely altered, rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal Imbiana has been seeking something her whole life. It’s a secret so precious she’s willing to risk her life recovering it from a recently discovered Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But with the aid of an amazing AI companion and experimental armoured suit, Opal might just stand a chance.

This blast of a book kickstarted the much-loved Lost Solace series, about an unlikely friendship between two women who keep hope alive in the darkest of times.

 

Purchase Links:

https://books2read.com/karldrinkwater

https://karldrinkwater.myshopify.com

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

If you enjoy fast paced, action-led plot-lines then Lost Solace is a book you won’t want to miss! Full of twists and turns, within is a compelling storyline in which we explore many interesting facets of lore in this world.

Opal is determined to explore the hostile environment of a re-emerged Lost Ship. Not only does she have the local environment to overcome, but she is also challenged by other humans on her quest for discovery. With an AI, Clarissa, on her side, she sets out to do what would appear to be impossible.

In a race against time, will Opal and Clarissa prevail? 

 

Setting

The Lost Ship is an eerie setting we get to explore in detail throughout the narrative. Whilst Opal and Clarissa feel very isolated in their quest, they are far from alone. If the local hostile environment wasn’t enough to contend with, Opal is being hunted down.

The tension and atmosphere Karl Drinkwater incorporates into this already busy narrative is impressive. Although the book overall is very action-led, there is plenty of world-building and description incorporated into the narrative to construct an immersive, deserted and eerie atmosphere present throughout.

 

Characters

Lost Solace is told from the perspective of two strong female leads. The first of these is Opal. She is a strong and inquisitive individual, empowered by her determination and force of will. Opal is accompanied by an AI known as Clarissa. She is incredibly smart – as can only be expected from a supercomputer. However, this isn’t just where her strengths lie.

For artificial intelligence, she is full of humour and dry wit. It’s a facet of personality that I expected from her character as a result of reading Helene, but otherwise would have been surprised by. It works very well too! Clarissa stands out and the personality quirk adds depth to her character.

The interactions between Opal and Clarissa are hilarious to read and their relationship is one of my favourite aspects of the book. Their witty dialogue is interspersed within the action in the book, making for a well-rounded read.

As a little extra, we also get to see characters from Karl Drinkwater’s other Lost Tales of Solace series. It was fun to see the overlap and get to revisit some of these individuals!

 

Narrative Style

Lost Solace has an easy to read, flowing narrative style. The book is approachable for readers of all levels and experience. Although a science-fiction novel, the content isn’t so technologically advanced that readers are unable to understand what’s going on. It strikes just the right balance of setting the scene, but also being clear and descriptive so no presumed knowledge is required.

At under 300 pages, it is also a quick read. I am a fast reader anyway, but a book of this length is definitely approachable for anyone interested in (or wants to try) the genre, and for any level of commitment.

 

Summary

I am a fan of science-fiction, so I was never not going to love Lost Solace. It is the first book in a series that I will be continuing with as soon as possible!

Lastly, I cannot help but share the dedication that Karl includes in the opening of this book. I loved it!

To strong women everywhere, at all times. 

 

Author Bio

Karl Drinkwater is an author with a silly name and a thousand-mile stare. He writes dystopian space opera, dark suspense and diverse social fiction. If you want compelling stories and characters worth caring about, then you’re in the right place. Welcome!

Karl lives in Scotland and owns two kilts. He has degrees in librarianship, literature and classics, but also studied astronomy and philosophy. Dolly the cat helps him finish books by sleeping on his lap so he can’t leave the desk. When he isn’t writing he loves music, nature, games and vegan cake.

Go to karldrinkwater.uk to view all his books grouped by genre.

As well as crafting his own fictional worlds, Karl has supported other writers for years with his creative writing workshops, editorial services, articles on writing and publishing, and mentoring of new authors. He’s also judged writing competitions such as the international Bram Stoker Awards, which act as a snapshot of quality contemporary fiction.

DON’T MISS OUT!

Enter your email at karldrinkwater.substack.com to be notified about his new books. Fans mean a lot to him, and replies to the newsletter go straight to his inbox, where every email is read. There is also an option for paid subscribers to support his work: in exchange you receive additional posts and complimentary books.

Social Media Links

Newsletter (and Substack) https://karldrinkwater.substack.com/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5766025.Karl_Drinkwater