Tag: bookaddict

Monthly Wrap-Up – June 2022

Welcome to my monthly wrap-up post covering all the books I read in June. I came so, so close to finishing this month’s TBR on time; in the end, I finished my last book on the 1st of July. I’m really happy despite that though!

I knew at the beginning of this month that I wasn’t going to be reading quite so much towards the end, as I had an exam on the 29th of June to prepare for. Perhaps that is why I ended up reading so much at the beginning of the month. I also managed to squeeze in a couple of audiobooks too!

My TBR for June was a little bit different, as I couldn’t decide what to pick up and read. I had one commitment, which I ended up setting as my only ‘fixed’ book on my TBR. The rest, I pencilled in provisionally but allowed myself the option to change. Incidentally, I didn’t change any of the books, but it was nice that I have the flexibility if I wanted to. And I think I needed that. Clearly it has worked out very well for me as I’ve made very good progress this month. I’m very happy with where I’m at with my reading.

I’m considering taking this approach a bit more in future; but I’m certainly going to try it out again to see if it continues to work for me.

 

Books Read

Wolf of Mercia

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 346

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication Date: 7 Jun 2022

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

My first priority of this month was to read my only ‘fixed’ book of the month, Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter. I had agreed to take part in a blog tour for this sequel; the first book I read earlier this year. The thing I love the most about this series is that it offers a unique perspective in a period of history where violence is almost expected. Our protagonist Icel does not relish battle or even killing in his own defence, but in this sequel we got to see a new side of him – one that acknowledges his duty, but also sticks to his roots of healing people wherever he can.

If you enjoy books like Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, then this is something I would recommend to you. I picked up this series initially because of my love of that, and it really works for me!

 

Norse Mythology

Genre: Mythology; short stories

Pages: 283

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 6 Mar 2018

Stars:🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

After Wolf of Mercia, I swiftly moved on to Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I wanted to pick up this book, however, I will admit I was sceptical as to whether I would like it or not. I haven’t had the best experience with books written by Neil Gaiman overall. However, Norse Mythology really worked for me.

Perhaps it is because this book is his own retelling of classic norse stories that this ended up being really safe ground. I enjoyed how these were written. Given that the book is just a collection of short stories, it was a very quick read for me; I managed to read it in just a couple of days. I was pleasantly surprised!

 

Assassin’s Apprentice

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 392

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager UK

Publication Date: 27 Mar 2014

Stars:🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

I have been meaning to try Robin Hobb’s books for such a long time, but never quite gotten around to them. However, I finally did it and I am so glad I’ve taken the plunge! These books have come highly recommended in general, but also more specifically from friends of mine.

One of the main elements I look at with fantasy books is character and world-building. These boxes were well and truly ticked in Assassin’s Apprentice, and I really enjoyed the storyline that unfolded in this book. It had elements of magic that I really liked, but also hints at the wider storyline that I trust will unfold throughout Hobb’s ‘The Realm of the Elderlings’ books.

From very early on in the narrative, we as the reader are sympathetic towards Fitz. He is a royal bastard who is left with his father‘s man Burrich as a child. He does not fit in to life at court and so he remains largely unacknowledged… but when he is, it’s not really for the better either.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m going to be continuing with this series very, very soon!

 

The Appeal

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Pages: 428

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Viper

Publication Date: 14 Jan 2021

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The biggest selling point for me about The Appeal is that the story is told through written communications between characters. If you are looking for something that is not traditional prose, then this format is one I’d recommend you try. I really liked this change of pace, and the storyline behind the emails/messages etc between the characters is engaging in and of its own right!

The beginning of the story is a bit of a slow burn. You go into it knowing that a murder has taken place, however it does not take place until a significant way through a narrative. I expected it to happen a little bit sooner, however it comes about that the context and events we see occur in the beginning are very much relevant to what happens in the end.

What is also clever about the way this is written is that you have to read into the subtext. These people meet in person and there are interactions that we don’t see in between, but can only speculate as to what occurs. As it turns out, there is a lot more going on under the surface and whilst there were some twists I did anticipate, there were others I did not at all! This was another fantastic read, and I cannot believe that this is a debut.

I will definitely be continuing with this author’s work!

 

Skyward

Genre: Science-fiction

Pages: 513

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 6 Nov 2018

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

I started reading Skyward on or around the 20th June, so this is the book I read the slowest over the course of the month. However, as I mentioned above, this was expected with my exam. Just because it was read the slowest, it does not mean I did not enjoy it!

Skyward is quite different to all the other Brandon Sanderson books I have read to date. Where they have sat firmly in the fantasy genre, Skyward is (expectedly) very hard leaning into the science-fiction genre. It is also written for a young adult audience. Some people have said they felt the writing was dumbed down a little, but I didn’t pick up on this too much. The nature of our protagonist definitely appeals to a younger audience, and perhaps the plot line is a little bit less sophisticated than some of his other fantasy books. But, other than that, I felt this read just as well.

I already have a copy of the sequel, Starsight, on my bookshelves just begging to be read.

 

Knight’s Shadow

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 606 (20hrs 6mins audio)

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

Publication Date: 5 Mar 2015

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

During the month of June I started listening to Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell again. I had started this audiobook previously, but I go through phases with audiobooks and I will binge-listen for a while, then practically stop completely. It’s a cycle that comes and goes, and I’m finally back in the ‘listening’ phase.

Even though it had been a little minute since I first started this audiobook, I was able to pick it up again really easily. The storyline and what has happened previously is unique and so it was very easy to return to the world and remember what has gone before.

I really enjoy the storyline and the witty perspective of our protagonist. I had no idea how this particular book was going to play out, after the events of the first book in series. However, it was written very well and it was a pleasure to listen to. I feel a grander storyline coming into play in comparison to the first book. As a fan of epic fantasy, this obviously appeals to me!

 

Hell

Genre: Non-fiction; memoir 

Pages: 272 (7hrs 6mins audio)

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Pan Books

Publication Date: 24 Jul 2003

Stars: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

The second audiobook listened to this month was completed in full, although admittedly, it only weighs in at about seven hours of listening time. Honestly, if it hadn’t been recommended to me I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. However, I’m glad I did!

This is the first prison diary written by Jeffrey Archer, and it recounts his experience of being imprisoned in HMP Belmarsh. This was a bit of an eye-opener for me. It’s not the kind of non-fiction book you would expect to pick up. However, the author’s experience of being imprisoned here, for a charge far less severe than that of his inmates, goes to show the unfairness and inefficiencies of the British legal system.

There are further prison diaries that the author wrote during his time, and I will also be listening to these in the future.

 

That is a lot of books to feature in one monthly wrap-up post! I had originally planned to share my mid-year review at the same time as this post. However, it’s already long enough, so I’m going to split that back out again and share that in the next day or two.

What have you been reading this month? Have you got any good book recommendations? Have you read any of the books I’ve featured today? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 3rd July 2022

Good evening everyone – it is the end of yet another week and so it’s time for my Sunday Summary update! This week’s blogging schedule didn’t quite go to plan, for reasons I’ll explain below. However, all-in-all, it has been a very good week and I have some good personal news to share!

I sat an exam for a professional qualification on Wednesday this week, which I’m pleased to say I passed! Naturally, this meant that last-minute revision was my focus for the first couple of days of the week. Consequently, that means I haven’t gotten as much reading done as I normally do, but also, it threw off my blogging schedule a little.

I originally planned to share a book review at the beginning of the week, and a mid-year review later on in the week. In the end, my book review for Dune by Frank Herbert went out on Thursday, later than scheduled. This is purely because I ended up putting in some more revision time last minute, and then after I had sat the exam I wanted to give myself a bit of a well-earned break. As a result, my mid-year review has not been shared, but you can expect this very, very soon.

 

Books Read

For reasons explained above, I haven’t read as much as I would in a typical week. I am pleased to report though that I finished reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson last night.

I really liked this book as it is very different from the other books I have read by this author. A lot of his other works have a lot of magic/fantastical elements interwoven into them. But where Skyward differs is that it leans very hard into the science-fiction genre rather than fantasy. That made it a completely different experience for me. You could also tell through the writing style that it is targeting a young adult audience, rather than an adult one. However, I really enjoyed this. I feel like a lot of young teenagers could really get on Spensa’s angsty teenager wavelength and relate to her as our protagonist.

Yet another five-star rating for a Brandon Sanderson novel!

I’ve also made some further progress with listening to Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Most of my progress in this audiobook was made on Thursday and Friday this week. I have been doing some other bits and pieces after my exam and listening to this audiobook fit in nicely with that. I am now approximately halfway through this audiobook. It’s not a long one, so progress is going to be quite quick. I may not get it all listened to in the next week, but perhaps the following one.

The feelings I shared about this audiobook have not changed since last week. The casting of characters for this one just doesn’t see it with me, and Lyra’s voice actor is very frustrating to listen to. I’ve also seen a review of this audiobook in which somebody else says the exact same thing, so I’m not the only one!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added one book to my reading list this week, having heard about it from Kaytee on the Currently Reading podcast. She has read this book recently, and her set-up of what the book was about really appealed to me! The book is set in Thailand and aimed at a middle-grade audience, but it has elements of magical realism (which appeals to my fantasy-loving self) and is loosely based on the story of Les Miserables. I thought that was a really unique combination, and the plot itself has drawn me in. I can’t wait to pick this one up for myself, as it’s very different from some of the other books I would usually read!

 

Coming Up…

Early this week I will be sharing my mid-year review post as originally planned last week. However, due to timing constraints, I’ve decided to combine this with my typical month-end wrap-up as well! The format will be much like my end-of-April review, in which I did my usual wrap-up and then inserted a commentary about my progress with my Goodreads challenge etc.

With it being the beginning of a new month I also have a Reading List to share with you. Now that my exam is over I am keen to dive into more books; I have quite a varied list to share with you this month, and I can’t wait for you to see it!

Next Sunday I will be back with my usual Sunday Summary wrap-up, talking about the books I’ve been reading/listening to and all my bookish updates.

For now, though, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary. Have you been reading anything interesting lately?

 

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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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Sunday Summary – 26th June 2022

Hello and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary post. I’m looking forward to sharing all my bookish updates with you from this week! I hope you have had a good one as well?

My first blog post of the week was a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post, I talked about my top ten bookish wishes, or books that I have my eye on acquiring next. I really enjoyed writing about the books I have in mind, and also to set down how I want to acquire a copy of each book as well. It stops me buying them willy-nilly and in the wrong format.

Later in the week I shared a First Lines Friday post. I didn’t set myself a challenge for this week’s feature, but I enjoyed that. I had free rein to choose whatever I liked, and this week’s feature is one that also happened to feature in my top ten bookish wishes post. I’m also very particular on getting a physical copy of this book, as it’s not written in prose. It’s a compilation of various different types of documents, so there’s a lot more visuality to it. Can you guess the book from the opening lines?

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I had just started Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. I was a humble 36 pages in and already hooked by protagonist Spensa‘s history and upcoming struggles.

My reading progress has slowed down a little bit this week, but I expected that. I have an exam coming up next week and I’ve been prioritising my revision for that. Even so, I’ve still managed to read a respectable 280 pages. That’s over half of the book, so I’m really happy with my progress. I’m hoping that I’ll still manage to get this finished before the end of the month, meaning that I will finish my first monthly TBR this year. We’ll see if that pans out though – I won’t be mad if I don’t quite get there. 

I have also made very good progress with audiobooks this week. I’ve talked about my hit and miss relationship with audiobooks, but I’m definitely in a phase of listening to them. This week I have been listening to a book that I wouldn’t have picked up if it had not been recommended to me. A colleague at work recommended Jeffrey Archer’s prison diaries to me. They were free to download from Audible at the time.

This week I’ve listened to the first book, Hell, in its entirety. Listening to this book really worked out for me. I am conscious of the fact I don’t read much non-fiction, and I’m trying to change that. Even then, I read or listen to any kind of biography even less often. I couldn’t tell you the last time I picked up a biography or autobiography. So, this gave me a great opportunity to break that habit. I’ll admit I didn’t have much prior knowledge of the events that happened in this book and so it was an eye-opener for me. It’s also a reasonably short listen (7 hours or so), which is why I managed to get through it in just one week.

I’ve also started a second audiobook this week, albeit a very different subject. Falling back into semi-familiar territory, I have started listening to Philip Pullman‘s Northern Lights, the first book of the ‘His Dark Materials’ series. I’m approximately 20% through this one as of this update post. I’m liking the story so far, although I have a couple of small gripes.

The book is predominantly narrated by Philip Pullman himself, but any character’s speech is narrated by somebody else (each character is separately cast). I would personally prefer for the audiobook not to have a full cast and to be narrated by just one person. Some people like audiobooks with a full cast as it helps distinguish between characters. However, it’s not working for me here. Not only that, but the person who is a voice actor for Lyra has a voice that really grates on me! I won’t let it deter me from the rest of the book though!

 

Books Discovered

I’m cursing myself once again for not making a note of where I’ve discovered this week’s addition to my TBR. I was convinced I had seen it on an email, but I’ve not been able to find my source again. Regardless, I added Against All Gods by Miles Cameron as I really like the sound of it! The synopsis of the book reminds me of Terry Pratchett, and I’ll explain why.

In the Discworld series, there is a bit of a parody with gods moving human beings like pieces on a chess board. If you read the synopsis of against all gods, then you’ll see why it reminded me of this: –

The gods play their games, looking down on the mortal realm and moving men as pawns. Sacrificing lives, towns, even civilisations as they make moves against each other, oblivious to and uncaring of the suffering it causes.

They are above it all: worshipped, emulated and admired.

Yet there is one among them who exists to sow chaos, to challenge the way of things, and to stir up trouble. One who sees the gods growing indolent and contented and selfish . . . and who is ready to meddle in the world of men. Not as part of the immortal game, but because they believe it’s possible for men to challenge . . . and even topple . . . the gods themselves.

An epic which draws on the Greek mythology of gods and heroes, this new trilogy is a must read for fans of Dan Simmons and Madeline Miller alike.

So, I am sure you can see why this appeals.

It’s an epic fantasy book that has just been released, and I also like that the gods draw on Greek mythology. I have read some other books based on Greek mythology before, so I do have a foundation of who the characters are. I’m looking forward to see how all these different elements mash together!

 

Coming Up…

I’d like to start off this week by sharing a book review with you; I have plenty of books that I am still yet to review. However, to make my life easier (because of the upcoming exam), I’m going to be reviewing something I’ve read this year. That way, my thoughts are fresh in my mind, but also I’ve been writing down my thoughts shortly after reading books. Therefore, I’ve got most of review already written and ready to go.

This week, I am going to be sharing my thoughts on Dune by Frank Herbert. My choice of reviewing this book is also because I have since gone on to read additional books in the series. I don’t want to get so far behind as I have with other series that I’m having to go back too far.

Friday is the 1st of July, and we will be over halfway through 2022! With that in mind, later this week I’d like to take a look at my reading progress throughout the year so far, review my reading goals and have a chat about my upcoming plans for the second half of the year.

And as always, I will be back this time next week with another Sunday Summary update post.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s update! What have you been reading?

 

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First Lines Friday – 24/06/2022

Welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular (typically fortnightly) series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For this week‘s First Lines Friday post, I decided to keep my subject open. Whilst it is fun to set myself a challenge sometimes, I didn’t have any inspiration or idea as to what I wanted to do. So, I kept it open and I’ve had a good long think; I’m really happy with the book I’ve chose to feature today.

Can you guess what it is?

 

 


Memorandum for: Executive Director Frobisher

From: Ghost ID (#6755–4181–2584–1597–9 87–610–377-ERROR-ERROR…)

Incept: 01/29/76

Subject: Alexander dossier

___________________________________________________

So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.

I won’t bore you with the tally of databases plundered, light-years jumped, or cute, sniffling orphans created in its compilation – our fee already reflects Level Of Difficulty. But this dirt is out there, if you know where to look. It seems your cleanup crews weren’t quite as thorough as you’d like, and your little corporate war isn’t quite a secret as you’d hoped.

 

 

 

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Illuminae

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve had my eye on this book for some time. The story is told through a compilation of correspondence and documentation as opposed to traditional prose, which interests me. This is something I’ve read and enjoyed recently (The Appeal by Janice Hallett). Given that I liked this one as much as I did, I can’t wait to try another book in this format. I’ve already decided, given the format, that I want a physical copy of this book/series. I talked about this in my top ten bookish wishes post earlier this week

I’m also a fan of Jay Kristoff. I first listened to his Nevernight Chronicles trilogy, and from there fell in love. I’ve gone on to purchase physical copies of these books to read again, and more recently, purchased and read Empire of the Vampire. This is my favourite read of 2022 so far, so I’m really excited to pick up something new by him.

Collaborations with other authors can be a bit hit and miss, but as I haven’t read anything by Amie Kaufman yet, I don’t feel like I can judge. I will just have to see how this goes! If I go on to enjoy these books then I have another series I can pick up that is co-authored by this duo. It’s a young adult science-fiction novel, which I feel like will be up my street! Especially considering I am reading a young adult science-fiction book by Brandon Sanderson at the moment, and really enjoying it. 

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read Illuminae, the rest of the series or any of the other books also written by these authors? I’d love to know in the comments!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Wishes!

Top Ten Tuesday posts were created by The Broke and the Bookish and then hosting moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

When I saw this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, I knew I wanted to share my version of this post. It’s a fun way to tell you what I’m really excited to read next, and also to consolidate my thoughts on the books I actually want to spend money on and rather than those purchased in the spur of the moment. I’m also going to include the format in which I want to obtain a copy of the book.

That’s important to me. I don’t have the most space in the world (although I am endeavouring to fill as much of it with books as possible!) and so I try to purchase e-books or audiobooks where possible. I will only buy physical copies of books by authors I really, really love. For the most part. There are some whimsical purchases now and then. As and when I have a clear out, these would be removed if necessary.

As most of these books are very high on my reading list, most of them I will be looking to purchase in print. There may however be a few exceptions.

The original aim of this post is for the blogger like me to include a link to a Wish List so anybody can purchase a copy of these books for me. I’m not doing that. I don’t expect anybody to buy books I want to read, other than myself. If I receive copies as gifts from friends or family for an occasion, then that’s fair and I’m really grateful. I don’t expect anything though, so I’m not setting up this facility.

Anyway, enough waffle. The books on this list broadly fall into two main categories – sequels or books awaiting publication. There are just a few exceptions to this rule and I’ll talk about those later in the post.

 

Awaiting Publication

It’s not very often I find myself waiting on a new release that isn’t a sequel. By far, I read more books in a series than I do standalones. Some of these books have been on my list for sometime, but others are also fairly recent.

The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss is by far the oldest book awaiting publication on my TBR. I remember really enjoying The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’ Fear – the first two books in the series, as a teenager. I have also read The Slow Regard of Silent Things, but I didn’t enjoy this novella quite as much as I did the other books. We have been eagerly awaiting this third novel in the series for so long that I will have to go back to the beginning once we get a publication date so I’m back up to speed; I haven’t read these books in about 10 years. At one point I had physical copies of the series, but I don’t think I do anymore. So, I’ll probably buy a Kindle copy.

Another big one on my list is The Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin. The good thing with this is that I am far more up to speed with the events of this series. I have read the books multiple times and watched the series as well. It will be interesting to see if the book surpasses my expectation based on the series! As I have the rest of the series in paperback (as well as Kindle and audio), I’ll definitely be looking to purchase The Winds of Winter in the same way.

The last book in the section is one that I’ve added to my TBR recently. I read Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff last month and it has been my best read of 2022 so far. The second book in the series is currently in the works and when I was doing some research, I couldn’t even find a title or cover for it yet. So, as a placeholder, I’m just going to have to call it Empire of the Vampire #2. This is certainly going to be a physical copy, and if I can, I’ll get a hardback so I’m consistent with my existing copy of Empire of the Vampire.

 

 

Sequels

Sequels by far make up of the majority of this list when you include the three books awaiting publication as well. However, the section is dedicated to sequels of books I’m reading that have been published and I am free to get whenever I’m ready.

Golden Son is the second book in the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown. As I enjoyed the sound of the first book, I decided to pick this up as something different. It is a dystopian science-fiction novel and it’s one that I enjoyed far more than I expected to. I purchased this original book on my Kindle and so I’ll be doing the same with Golden Son.

Firefight is also the second book of the series, but this one is Brandon Sanderson’s The Reckoners series. I’m really loving Brandon Sanderson‘s writing, but if I purchased every single book of his I enjoyed, I would have no room left in the house. Instead, I will probably cherry pick the best of the best once I read more of his work to own in physical copies. So, when I get my hands on Firefight, this will also be on my Kindle.

My second Brandon Sanderson book in the section is Cytonic. Contrary to what I’ve just said above, I already own copies of Skyward and Starsight in physical format. In fact, I am reading Skyward right now and I’m really enjoying the book. It’s different from his usual works as it is written for a younger YA audience. If I go onto enjoy this series as much as I think I will, then this is one of his I will be keeping. However, I’ll see how I go before I commit to purchasing the third book in paperback.

Lastly, I have some books from a reasonably new to me author on this list – Robin Hobb. I have just dived into Assassin’s Apprentice earlier this month, and I’ve already purchased physical copies of the rest of that trilogy ready to read. I fully expect to love these books!

What I also enjoy about the structure of her books is that there are multiple series within the same realm. I have just The Farseer trilogy for now, but there are plenty of other books to dive into later on – and that’s what I’m going to be doing.

I’m going to complete The Farseer trilogy first before I commit to buying any more books, but I fully expect that I’ll get the rest of the series in paperback too.

 

Other

I have a few anomalies on this list that do not fall into the above categories.

Technically, I already own a copy of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. However, I’ve already read this book twice and I know it’s one I would like to go back to time and again. I also have a copy of The Testaments in physical format, and so I would like to backfill and purchase a physical copy of The Handmaid’s Tale (in hardback if possible, to match).

I also have a book that is not directly a sequel, but is part of a series written by Elizabeth Wein. It’s not directly a sequel as it doesn’t follow on from the same characters; instead, it follows events and different characters throughout World War II. I read Code Name Verity on my Kindle (which is technically the third book of the ‘series’) and so I would like to get Rose Under Fire in the same way. Depending on how well I get on with his book, I might go back and read the first two books.

The last book on my list is the real anomaly because it is the start of a series as opposed to a sequel. I’ve read and enjoyed numerous books by one of the co-authors. Not only that, but the way in which the book is written makes me want a physical copy, as the story is told through compiled media. Much like The Appeal by Janice Hallet, Illuminae isn’t straight prose. There is a lot more to take in and it is far more of a visual experience. I’ve known I want a physical copy of this book (and probably the rest of the series if I enjoy it) since I added it to my TBR.

So, those are my top ten bookish wishes! I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and taking a look at which books I have my sights on.

Did any of the books in today’s post catch your eye? What are your bookish wishes? I’d love to know in the comments!

 

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Sunday Summary – 19th June 2022

Good evening and welcome to my Sunday Summary update post! I hope all you amazing Dads out there have had a lovely Father’s Day and been spoilt!

I started off this week with sharing a discussion post, the topic being about getting out of your comfort zone when reading. It has been a little while since I drafted a post of this type and I enjoyed doing so. It ended up being quite a long post, in which I discussed ways you could push your boundaries, shared why that’s benefited me and how I plan to continue getting out of my comfort zone.

Later in the week, I returned to my usual Friday feature posts. This week, I shared a Shelf Control post and featured a book that has been on my TBR since 2018. It is a ‘new to me’ author, even though they are prominent in the genre. If you want to find out more, you can do so with the link above.

 

Books Read

As of my last Sunday Summary update I had just started The Appeal by Janice Hallett. I was approximately 25 pages in and really looking forward to diving into this book.

I read the book in its entirety in four days! The format of the story was fantastic! I love how it was told through correspondence between characters. As a reader, it makes you read between the lines and try to decipher the subtext. After all, we only see the online interactions and not what happens in person.

I also really enjoyed the complexity of the characters and the storyline. As far as the murder mystery goes, this kind of book shows you that it can be very obscure. Every character had a motive or a reason to be involved or not trusted. The story was very complex, but at the same time easy to follow and very intriguing! The way it has been written was very cleverly done and I personally enjoyed the change of pace!

I had a little break from reading for a few days, however I started my next and last ‘official’ book on my TBR today. For half an hour or so before going to visit my parents, I read the 36 pages of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. It’s a solid introduction to this book so far and I can’t wait to see how the story progresses.

In the prologue and first three chapters, the history of the main character Spensa has been established, and from there I expect a wonderful story of what is apparently a very stubborn girl determined to fight against the prejudice she experiences. I can’t wait to dive into this one more and I’ll have more to tell you in next week’s update.

Lastly, I finished Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell this week. I have gone from listening to practically nothing to a complete switch around and managed to finish an audiobook! I really enjoyed this second instalment to the series. I had no idea how some of the complications the characters were having were going to resolve themselves, But I really enjoyed how this was done!

 

Books Discovered

I have added a couple of books to my TBR this week. Both are very different from each other, which only goes to show how different my reading taste is.

The first book is written by Margaret Atwood, called Alias Grace. I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of this book before until I discovered it in a video by @schulerbooks on TikTok. Yes, I have joined TikTok for the bookish community there! I really like the description of the book and the video I found prompted me to find out more. Consequently, I added this to my reading list as I think I’ll really enjoy this one. I like the unreliable narrator trope, which is a prominent feature in this book.

After some consideration I have added The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake to my reading list. I’ve seen quite a few people talking about this book, but most prominently from one booktuber I follow who really enjoys the dark academia theme/genre. This book falls into that category and as she loves it so much, I’m willing to give it a go!

 

Coming Up…

I like the idea of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday post, which is top ten bookish wishes. The idea is to share the top ten books you would like to own and if you set up a Wishlist on Amazon, provide a link to it so people can get a copy to you if they want to purchase it for you. I’m not going to do this; if I want a book I’ll buy it myself, or ask for a copy from family as a gift for an occasion. So, I won’t be adding the wish list, but I will be talking about the top ten books on my TBR that I want to own next!

On Friday I will be sharing a First Lines Friday post. The last few times I have done this type of post I have set myself a challenge. I don’t have anything in particular in mind and so this week I’m going to keep it open and decide which book to feature later in the week.

And last, but certainly not least, I’ll be back with a Sunday Summary post this time next week with all my fresh updates for you!

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary. What are you currently reading?

 

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Shelf Control #49 – 17/06/2022

Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is one of my regular features (typically fortnightly on a Friday)  It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies and it’s all about featuring/celebrating unread books on our bookshelves! The idea is to pick a book from your TBR that haven’t read yet and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

It has been a few weeks since I last shared a Friday feature, and I’m excited to share today’s with you. Having never read this author before, I’m really keen to jump in. I’ve heard great things and he is one of the big names in his genre.

 

The Litigators – John Grisham

Goodreads – The Litigators

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!

It almost seems too good to be true.

And it is.

The Litigators is a tremendously entertaining romp, filled with the kind of courtroom strategies, theatrics, and suspense that have made John Grisham America’s favorite storyteller.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m always looking forward to trying the works of a new author. Whilst I own a copy of Rogue Lawyers, I haven’t yet read any books by John Grisham. That said, I am looking forward to giving his writing a try. I have experience of enjoying courtroom thrillers in the past… and I think the premise of this particular book is interesting.

I’m confident that this is a book I am going to enjoy. The author hasn’t become a household name for no reason, and someone from work has read and enjoyed his books. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s who I got my copy of Rogue Lawyers from. Someone from Finance had a clear out (due to a lack of space, not a dislike of the book) and brought in the books so anyone who wanted them could help themselves). You can be sure I did – although I only picked up this one!

I’m hopeful that I enjoy this book, as it means that a new world opens to me in terms of the number of books I can read. John Grisham has published over 40 books (according to his own website), so I have plenty of reading material provided I get on with his writing style.

Have you read The Litigators, or any other books by John Grisham? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Discussion Post – Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Choosing to pick up a book outside of your comfort zone can be scary. What if you don’t like it?

Well, I suppose you can say that you’ll never know if you don’t try it! Today’s discussion post is all about trying to encourage anyone to try reading something out of their comfort zone now and again. I read a lot, and I read the vast majority of genres. That wasn’t always the case though. However, there are genres and topics that I consider myself ‘not to read’. That’s not to say I don’t pick them up once in a while! How do you know you don’t like something unless you take the plunge and give it a go?

If you want to try something new, but don’t quite know how to do it, you can find some suggestions below that might help you on the right track… Or prove to you that your judgement was right in the first place. Who knows? You win some and you lose some!

 

Try a new genre/sub-genre/combination

With such a wide variety of books out there, there is no way you have tried every single possibility. It may be that you have never tried one of the main genres before. Before I started my blog, I wouldn’t pick up horror books. It wasn’t something I thought I’d enjoy.

As a first step, I decided to pick one of the most prominent authors in that genre – Stephen King, and give one of his books a try. My first ever read was The Green Mile. Not only is he an iconic author of the genre, but I picked this book because I was familiar with some the story. I hadn’t ever watched the film in full, but I’ve seen enough snippets of it that I had a rough idea of what was going on. That helped immensely! Having some sense of familiarity helped me gel with the story, and let the new experience of the author and his writing style (and the genre) shine through. I’ve gone on to read a number of King’s books, with plenty more still on my TBR.

Sometimes it isn’t as easy as that though. Maybe you don’t know or recognise a prominent author to start with. In which case, I would recommend picking up a book that ties into multiple genres… or is of an audience you relate to. For example, if you want to try to read a book aimed at a younger audience as opposed to an adult book, choose one in a genre you already know and like. Likewise, if you want to try and branch out into another genre, find a book where that genre overlaps with one you already know you get on with. There are so many combinations nowadays that I think you can find something to get you started.

 

Book Clubs/Buddy Reads and Readalongs

If you need a push to pick up something new, then joining a book club or a readalong can be a great way of encouraging you to do so. A group may be able to vote on the book chosen, but ultimately, it’s the overall result from the group that decides what book gets picked up.

And sometimes, that’s not the one you want.

There is nothing wrong with this; in fact, I’d argue that this is a great thing. Not only does it give you the encouragement to try something you wouldn’t pick up on your own, but it also gives you the opportunity to talk about why you come to like it (or don’t – that bit’s up to you). It makes you think about your reading tastes and really define what works for you and what doesn’t. You can then take that forward and try new books with that element that you have found you liked. And who knows, by reading other books that have the same, you may find another topic/theme/genre that you haven’t come across before and also enjoy. And so it snowballs.

If you don’t have the confidence to be a part of a group, then having a trusted friend instead could be a solution. It will be a lot easier to read the book together and pace yourselves in such a way that you can have a more structured discussion every few chapters, if you wish, or even just be able to meet up more regularly to talk about it and have more detailed/meaningful conversations!

 

Recommendations

We can only read so many books in our lifetime, but one of the most valuable resources we can use when it comes to sharing the book love and recommendations is each other! We all have our own slightly different tastes, but we can also have a lot in common with others. If you have a trusted person or a group of individuals with which you have a lot in common, they can give you some really good recommendations that align really well with your tastes. Maybe you already take them up on some of them.

But, it is also true that they can recommend great books that don’t necessarily fit in to your idea of ‘your kind of book’. If you already trust this person’s opinion regarding your similarities, then it’s a reasonably safe bet to trust them on your differences too. They are the best people equipped to give you a recommendation, so why not take a chance and take them up on it?

 

If in doubt, don’t wig out – understand you reading tastes

You aren’t going to love every single book on the planet. For most of them, there’ll be things you like and things you don’t. I have a pretty good idea of what I like and what I don’t like based on my diversity of reading. That is something that comes with experience… and pushing the boundaries now and then.

For example, I don’t really enjoy romance as a genre. However, I will occasionally pick one up (I read The Duke & I by Julia Quinn in May), or read a book where this overlaps with another genre, such as historical romance or fantasy romance. I read The Duke & I, and overall I neither loved nor hated it. There were bits I didn’t like, and unless you read books like that, you don’t really understand what it is you don’t like about them.

My biggest problem with this book is that it flaunted how characters are treated differently based on gender. Men are deemed attractive if they are roguish and rakish, but women couldn’t possibly put a foot out of line or be seen doing anything inappropriate lest they ruined theirs and their family’s reputation. That is what I don’t like… and that’s not necessarily a reflection on the book.

Another example; I have previous experience where I have not enjoyed a book that was not written in traditional prose. Yet, I’m currently reading The Appeal by Janice Hallett, and the story is told through the written communications between characters (text messages, emails, letters etc). Just because I didn’t enjoy the writing style of Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to enjoy The Appeal either. Neither are written in traditional prose, but they are both very different from each other too.

Another example of this is Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. The story of this book is told through interviews of characters after the events of the book have happened, and one of the characters (the interviewer), we don’t know at all. These are all completely different styles, but all testament to the fact that you shouldn’t dismiss one because they have a loose similarity to another. Of the three books, I disliked one but enjoyed the other two.

Instead, define more precisely what you don’t like about a book. The thing I didn’t enjoy about Girl, Woman, Other is that it was written like prose, but it lacked the traditional grammatical structure we expect.

You can see in both of these examples that I have read books out of my comfort zone, and from that experience I’ve been able to take away exactly what I liked and didn’t like. Yes, I didn’t like the gender differences in The Duke & I, but I liked the narrative style. It was easy to read and despite my niggles, it didn’t stop me finishing the book.

On the other hand, I couldn’t finish Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. One of the biggest factors for me is a book’s writing style, and if I really can’t get on with it then it doesn’t matter how good the story is – I can’t finish it. Again, this is something that I’ve learned through experience. I’ve picked up books that haven’t worked out for me, and that’s fine. You don’t have to love everything you read. And if you are concerned about spending money on books to then not enjoy them, then there are ways around this too. If you have an e-reader, you can download a sample to try the book before you buy. Many people will probably have access to a library, or at least an e-library. So, if you’re really not sure, try and borrow it!

 

Conclusion

Try to push your boundaries now and again. You don’t have to do it very often, you don’t have to do it very much. How far you want to take it is entirely up to you, as is the means in which you do so. All I can say is that I have learned a lot about my reading preferences by trying something out of the box.

There are times when it doesn’t work, and that’s fine. You’ve learned from it. There have been many more times where I have found something that I’ve really enjoyed and gone back to again; the experience has broadened my horizons. And I will continue to do so. Once upon a time I was a teenage girl who almost exclusively read fantasy books. Look where I am now… still a predominant fantasy reader, but I also read a wide variety of genres around that. All because I pushed my boundaries.

As with everything, reading taste evolves. I’ve already established that mine has changed significantly in the last 10 years. But just because I’ve pushed the boat out before, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop reading out of my comfort zone. I want to pick up new and different books. One of the biggest changes I would like to make is incorporating more non-fiction into my TBR.

Dare I say it, I want to try my hand at romance books that tackle difficult topics. I really enjoyed Me Before You, which centres around a character who wishes to end his own life. That was a romance and I really enjoyed it, even though it was upsetting to read. There are romance books that centre around abuse and other less savoury elements of life rather than just mushy plot lines. Who’s to say I won’t enjoy those? I can’t… until I’ve read them at least. 

If I can push myself, I have every faith that you can too, and I hope this post gives you some inspiration to do so and how to go about it if you’re not sure!

When was the last time you tried something out of your comfort zone?

 

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Sunday Summary – 12th June 2022

I am back with another Sunday Summary update post for you today. First of all, I hope you’ve had a fabulous week!

I started off this week by sharing a book tag post with you. I wanted something that was a lighter topic and so I pulled a book tag out of my bank that I’ve been saving for the occasion. That post was my ‘The Last Book I…’ post, and if you haven’t seen that already you can find a link to this here.

The reason I chose that post earlier in the week is because I was taking part in a blog tour on Friday and sharing a review as part of that. On Friday I shared my thoughts on the Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter. I signed up to this blog tour having read and loved the first book of the series, Son of Mercia, earlier this year. If you are a fan of historical fiction then I highly recommend this series. If you want to find out more, again, there is a link here to that post.

 

Books Read

When I drafted last week’s Sunday Summary update post I was just about to start Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. As planned, after my post went live I started reading this and I have read the whole book this week! I really, really loved it! For me, it’s one of those scenarios where you regret not starting it sooner! I have seen very good ratings for this book and I’ve also had recommendations from friends. It’s been on my radar for a very long time and I’m glad I finally taken the plunge into Robin Hobb’s writing.

I’m really excited to delve further into the series, because Assassin’s Apprentice was a fantastic read. It is everything I hoped it could be and more besides! You cannot help but feel sorry for Fitz. He has been down on his luck all his life, and just to rub things in a little bit further, Robin Hobb is not gentle with her characters in this book. That is all I will say, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

I started my next book yesterday, which is The Appeal by Janice Hallett. I’ve only just started this book and I’m just over 25 pages in. The story is told through communications between characters (i.e. email, text messages etc). It’s a completely different style to what I’m used to, but it makes you think about the subtext and what is going a bit more than you would have to in traditional prose. I’m enjoying the book so far and this is the read I’ll be taking forward into next week. This is going to be an interesting one!

In my book tag earlier this week, I made a comment about having not listened to much in the way of audiobooks recently. I said it was one of those things that waxes and wanes, and that currently I was in the latter of those stages. Well, I may have jinxed that when I said it! At the beginning of the week I think I was around 25% through the audiobook Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell. I have listened to most of the book this week and I’m now 80% through it.

More often than not it depends on circumstance and what I’m doing as to whether I listen to them. I found myself getting more involved in crafty projects this week, and listening to an audiobook at the same time is the perfect companion. Previously I found myself physically reading more, but this week there has been more of a balance. I definitely want to finish Knight’s Shadow now that I’m this close to the end, and who knows… maybe this is my break back into an audiobooks phase!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added a book to my reading list this week that I’d heard about previously, but didn’t really know what it was about. It was through a top 25 standalone fantasy books video on YouTube that I came to understand the plot of The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J Klune. I’d seen people talking about it, but never in enough detail to make me want to pick it up. Until that video. The book has themes of identity, belonging and family – which aren’t particularly common things for a fantasy book to revolve around.

I think this could be an interesting read. I also like the idea of it being a standalone fantasy as well. They are a lot less common than series, and if I go on to enjoy this book I think there are others written by the same author that I can then look at as well, that revolve around different, but just as important, topics.

 

Coming Up…

I’m conscious of the fact it has been a while since I’ve drafted a discussion post. I’ve had an idea this week that could be a fun post to write and also helpful to anybody if they are considering branching out with reading. I’ve previously written a discussion post about reading diversity in relation to picking up different genres. Along the same lines, I want to share a discussion post about why I think it is important to read outside of your comfort zone now and then… and recommend different ways that this can be achieved.

This week I will be resuming my regular Friday features, and this week it is the turn of a Shelf Control post. In case you aren’t familiar, in those posts I take a look at a book on my TBR, share the synopsis and details and why I’m still interested to read this. In doing these reviews, I have actually found books that I’ve changed my mind about and taken it off the list. It’s a good way to make myself keep this list up-to-date, and I hope that by featuring books I may just pique your interest at the same time.

And as always, I’ll be back with a Sunday Summary update at the end of the week, sharing my reading progress and recapping my news.

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update post. What are you reading?

 

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