Tag: bookaholic

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 28th April 2019

This week has been one of the best this year, by far! I’ve had a much-deserved break from work to relax, catch up on some sleep… and read plenty of books! Apparently, the break was needed too. An eagle-eyed reader of last week’s post may have noticed I managed to get the date very, very wrong – a month wrong, in fact. Well done if you spotted it – if you didn’t it’s too late now because I’ve corrected that grievous error…

I’ve not been sleeping well lately thanks to an inconsiderate night-owl neighbour. Not to jinx it, but things have been alright this week, so fingers crossed my complaints have finally made an impact!

 

Although I had more time on my hands this week, the blog schedule remained as usual. My focus was on the reading side, so I have stuck to my three posts. My first blog post of the week landed on Wednesday and I decided to resurrect my “Quintessential Quotes” post. I last made one last year and this time, I wanted to take a look at another fantasy author I am fast becoming a huge fan of – Brandon Sanderson. The particular book I decided to feature was “The Way of Kings”. On Friday I took part in my last blog tour of the month for Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

 

Books Read

I’ve had such a productive week in reading terms. It’s not very often that I manage to get through so much simply because I’m out at work! Now I understand how some people can get through so many books in a week. I was talking to my parents about how much I have been reading on Friday and my mum joked that I will probably die surrounded by books and cats. Suffocation by TBR doesn’t sound like the worst way to go…

Following on from last week, I ended up reading Justice Gone and The Watcher of Dead time pretty much side by side. It’s not very often I do this, but it felt right. Reading one and then the other worked because it enabled me to take a break from each when I needed to, but I was able to keep up the momentum. The narratives and genres are completely different, which helps. I can’t read anything to similar at the same time but that wasn’t a problem here at all.

In the last couple of days, I picked up the last book of the TBR for April, Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. His books are always a great laugh and quite easy to read. I’m two-thirds of the way through currently and I expect I’ll have it finished by tomorrow at the latest. Who knows, for the first time in a long while (if not ever) I might actually get to start a monthly TBR early!

I may have been at home most of the week, but I did have a couple of trips out in the car. I have finished the main storyline of Lock In and I am now listening to the novella also included in the audiobook that tells us the history of Haden’s syndrome.

 

Books Discovered

In addition to being off work this week, payday rolled around (finally)! So, yes, I treated myself to a couple of books. One of these I needed pretty much straight away, since my library don’t have this one in their e-book library. The second book is one that I could have borrowed from them, but I have bought the first three books already. I have just watched Season 3 of The Last Kingdom and it’s reminded me that I really need to pick up the next book. Sword Song is book four of the series and I expect I’ll be picking it up really soon!

 

Coming Up…

It’s that time of the month when I am thinking about my next TBR. I am really excited about it, because having been off and had a taste of the luxury of time; I want to read all the books! I have so many in mind I fear I won’t get around to them all. I’m either going to have to reluctantly postpone one or two or really pull my finger out to dedicate every spare moment I have to the cause. I’m yet to decide, but I’ll let you know in my reading list post!

A little later in the week, I’m going to be writing a book review that isn’t for a blog tour! It’s been so long since I’ve done one and I now have a bit of a backlist. Usually, I refer to Goodreads, but because I have done so many tours a few books still to review are quite far down the list now. To be sure I don’t forget them, I’ve started a list on my phone to be sure nothing is forgotten! Since I have been reading Shaun Hume’s book for so long (and I got the chance to put all my feedback together whilst I have been off work – another win!) it’s time I finally committed to a review.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

A Reader to Whatever End – This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) – Book Review

Book Bosomed Blonde – Experimental Star Ratings

Two Turn the Page Book Reviews – #bookreview – Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Jennifer Tar Heel Reader – Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Jack’s Bedtime Reading – My Favourite Fantasy Worlds

You probably hate me now for all this talk of time off work (lucky bitch), and fair enough! Just remember that I have to go back tomorrow and I am very acutely aware of this fact. I’m not looking forward to it! Reading the antics of Terry Pratchett’s creations had best keep me sane…

 

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Blog Tour Review: Justice Gone – N. Lombardi Jr

Today is my final blog tour post of the month. This tour had me reading something a little out of my comfort zone, yet I was equally keen to try it! Thank you to the author and to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part and try something new!

 

Justice Gone

A beaten homeless vet. Three cops gunned down. A multistate manhunt. The trial of the decade.

A new kind of legal thriller

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

Purchase Links: –   Amazon UK     Amazon US     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository     Waterstones     Kobo

 

My Thoughts…

Reading Justice Gone was a new experience for me. It’s rare that I read anything with a military undertone – if I do, it’s historical (WW2 etc). The lives of war veteran’s after they have served their country, and the daily difficulties they face, as a result, isn’t really well known.

I found the novel easier to read the further developed the story became. Each character is easy to invest in and as many of the characters have experienced trauma as a result of a military background, I found myself empathising with them so easily. I love how openly PTSD is discussed and that there isn’t a stigma around men expressing their true feelings.

“What makes a person if not their own experiences?”

It’s a poignant quote from the book and it has stuck with me… simply because it’s true! Vets returning from service aren’t given the support needed to integrate themselves back into society and are then punished for acting out in the only way they know.

There is a degree of violence in the book which some readers may not like, but I personally didn’t find it off-putting. If anything, experiencing these moments with the characters drives home the feelings of injustice even more.

I was mainly drawn to the book for the promise of a legal thriller – and I was not disappointed! Donald Darfield stands accused murdering three police officers, who days before had beaten his friend and sergeant to death. Reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the novel tackles the challenges and failings of the justice system, as well as racial and socioeconomic bias in society.

 

 

Author Bio

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Social Media Links –

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982373.N_Lombardi_Jr_

http://www.author-n-lombardi-jr.com/

Quintessential Quotes – Favourite Quotes from The Stormlight Archives #1

It’s been over a year since I last shared one of these posts. I don’t really know why I don’t do them more often – they’re an opportunity to share the best parts of a book or series to others! To date, I have only written these posts covering a series of books. Today’s post, however, is just going to cover one book in particular – The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

 

The Way of Kings

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

 

Brandon Sanderson is fast becoming one of my favourite fantasy writers.

I first picked up his Mistborn trilogy and I loved the concept of magic still having a physical basis (it stems from ingesting different metal compositions) and the subsequent limitations that has. The Stormlight Archives magic has a similar dependency but on the completely different elements of light.

It’s taking all my self-control not to pick up the rest of this series too quickly. This epic fantasy series is anticipated to consist of ten books and as yet, only three have been published. I’m trying to pace myself. I really enjoyed the first book though, so I’ll cave in sometime soon. If anything, writing this post and looking at some of my favourite quotes from the book makes me want to pick up Words of Radiance already!

Of the five quotes I have picked out, these last two have to be my favourite!

 

Have you read The Way of Kings or any other books by Brandon Sanderson? Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

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Blog Tour Review: Trust Me – K. J. McGillick

After reading Facing a Twisted Judgment and Karma Never Loses an Address, I knew K. J. McGillick was an author I was going to be keeping my eyes out for. When I received an email from Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources advertising this new tour, I signed up straight away!

 

Trust Me

Sex. Power. Murder.

Dr. Gabriel Blackwell and his wife Sandra Blake have it all. He’s a brilliant thoracic surgeon. She’s a high-powered attorney with family money. Their lives are as loving as they are glamorous.

Or are they?

When a nurse Dr. Blackwell works with is brutally murdered, the questions fly. Who would want to kill this woman and why? When an autopsy reveals the woman was pregnant, all signs point to Dr. Blackwell. Just what was her relationship with him?

Whispers about a scandalous sex club surface. How many other lovers are there? Are any of them safe? How far would he go to protect his reputation?

Tragedy strikes again as Sandra Blake is found dead floating in their pool. Dr. Blackwell now finds himself on trial for two murders. Facing life in prison, Dr. Blackwell will grasp at any straw to preserve his freedom.

Any straw.

Is anyone innocent? Is anyone safe?

 

Purchase Links:     Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Mary and her ever-expanding legal team are back and taking on more cases. The path to justice never runs smoothly though. Trust Me is fraught with danger, plot twists and amoral clients – Mary and her team of attorneys really have their work cut out for them! Poppy and Mr Martin are the firm’s newest recruits. They join Dahlia, Tallulah and Eloise in a myriad of complex legal cases – from criminal defence to probate matters.

Although not as closely linked as the previous books I have read by K. J. McGillick, there are a number of overlapping characters in Trust Me that make for friendly faces. Don’t let Mary’s innocent old lady act fool you – she’s one senior citizen I wouldn’t like to cross! She also has an eye for bright-spark attorneys. They are all fantastic at their jobs both inside and outside of the courtroom and it’s great to see them have the odd moral-dilemma of representing someone they don’t believe. It reminds us that they are human too.

Each of these books is cleverly written so as to explain enough about the legal elements of each case, but in a way that is believable in context and approachable to the reader. Wading through legal jargon isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and I feel the author has been successfully mindful to balance the narrative. The author’s experience in the profession really shines through!

The drama unfolds at a pace that is both easy to follow and to read, even in quite long sittings (without necessarily realising it!). It keeps you pining for that next chapter and wondering what will happen next, even when it isn’t in your hand. Trust Me.

Thank you to the author and to Rachel for the opportunity to read another thoroughly enjoyable crime fiction novel! I sincerely hope this isn’t the last we have seen of the team and can’t wait to find out what trouble lands on their doorstep next!

 

Author Bio

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

 

 

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #20

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

Kill the Father – Sandrone Dazieri

Goodreads – Kill the Father

‘The rock cast a sharp, dark shadow over a shape huddled on the ground. Please don’t let it be the boy, Colomba thought. Her silent prayer didn’t go unanswered. The corpse belonged to the mother.’

THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN STOP HIM IS THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY…

Dante Torre spent eleven young years in captivity – held by a man known only as The Father – before outwitting his abductor. Now working for the police force, Torre’s methods are unorthodox but his brilliance is clear. When a young child goes missing in similar circumstances in Rome, Torre must confront the demons of his past to attempt to solve the case.

Paired with Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, all evidence suggests The Father is active after being dormant for decades, and that he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante…

 

When I discovered this book I knew it was something I would love to read. Doesn’t the synopsis just sound so eerily intriguing? I’ve got a paperback copy of this sat on my bookshelf in the hallway ready to read. As a rule, I only tend to get myself physical copies of books if I know I’ll enjoy them. To me, they’re just a little more prestigious than e-books. I’m choosier about the physical books I buy I suppose. They’re more expensive and going to be out on display. I have to be sure I’ll enjoy them!

Verdict: Keep

 

Executed – R. R. Haywood

Goodreads – Executed

The team of heroes extracted from their timelines to stop the impending apocalypse didn’t think they needed a leader.

But they’ve got one anyway.

With their mission in tatters, Miri has been called in to steady the ship. And to focus them on their assignment: preventing the end of the world.

The problem is, the world doesn’t know it’s in danger. With governments pursuing them relentlessly, attempting to steal the time-travel device to use for their own ends, the heroes are on the run—fighting for survival in a world they’re supposed to save.

Meanwhile, Miri has motives of her own. And when the existence of a second device is discovered, the team’s mission and their lives are in mortal danger…

 

I’ve read the first book of this series but to be honest, after talking to some people, I have doubts about whether to continue reading it. I liked the first book in an “it’s okay, readable”, but not exceptional way. From what others have said, I don’t think it gets any better. There’s some kind of romance element that comes in later too. I don’t like that all that much in books; I can deal with it if the rest of the book is so good that it makes up for it, but I think I’ll regret keeping going with these.

Verdict: Go

 

Dancer’s Lament – Ian Esslemont

Goodreads – Dancer’s Lament

Taking Malazan fans back to that troubled continent’s turbulent early history. The opening chapter in Ian C. Esslemont’s epic new fantasy sequence, the Path to Ascendancy trilogy.

For ages warfare has crippled the continent as minor city states, baronies, and principalities fought in an endless round of hostilities. Only the alliance of the rival Tali and Quon cities could field the resources to mount a hegemony from coast to coast — and thus become known as Quon Tali.

It is a generation since the collapse of this dynasty and regional powers are once more rousing themselves. Into this arena of renewed border wars come two youths to the powerful central city state that is Li Heng. One is named Dorin, and he comes determined to prove himself the most skilled assassin of his age; he is chasing the other youth — a Dal Hon mage who has proven himself annoyingly difficult to kill.

Li Heng has been guided and warded for centuries by the powerful sorceress known as the “Protectress”, and she allows no rivals. She and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions — what could two youths hope to accomplish under their stifling rule?

Yet under the new and ambitious King Chulalorn the Third, Itko Kan is on the march from the south. He sends his own assassin servants, the Nightblades, against the city, and there are hints that he also commands inhuman forces out of legend.

While above all, shadows swirl oddly about Li Heng, and monstrous slathering beasts seem to appear from nowhere to run howling through the street. It is a time of chaos and upheaval, and in chaos, as the young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity.

 

I really like the sound of this fantasy novel. It seems to have some cliché character roles, but for the sake of a good story and world-building, I can live with that.

Verdict: Keep

 

Eagles in the Storm – Ben Kane

Goodreads – Eagles in the Storm

Arminius has been defeated, one of the three eagles has been recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain. Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle liberated and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest. But Arminius is still at large, devious, fearless and burning for revenge of his own. Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land. Into this cauldron of bloodshed, danger and treachery, Tullus must go – alone. His mission – to find and bring back his legion’s eagle – will place him in more danger than he has ever faced before. Can he succeed? Can he even survive?

 

When I bought this, I didn’t realise it was the third book in the Eagles of Rome series. It’s definitely a keeper, but I am going to have to get myself the first two books and read them before I even think about picking this up. Just knowing they are in the wrong order is enough. I can’t do it. Maybe I’m a little OCD.

Verdict: Keep

 

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Goodreads – Murder on the Orient Express

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

 

Maybe it seems a little unfair to have my doubts about such a classic, but now I do. I managed to watch the recent film starring Kenneth Branagh and Johnny Depp – in fact, I think that’s why I added this to my TBR! I have reservations about the book though if I’m honest. It’s a tale so well known that I think it won’t meet expectations, so to speak. I’ll want to like it so much that I’ll be twice as disappointed if I don’t. I’ve also been reading a lot of crime/mystery lately. Maybe I’m growing a little bored of the genre.

Verdict: Go

So, that’s 2/5 off the list! What do you think? Do you agree with me?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Struggles of being a book blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme, originally created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Don’t get me wrong – I love being a book blogger. Having the opportunity to talk about books I love is an absolute privilege. My blog has always been about me (sorry that probably sounds really selfish, but it’s true!) Likes, comments and follows are an amazing perk, but my goal with my blog has always been about channelling my passion for reading and writing.

Nearly two years on, I still have a lot to learn about blogging. I’m still not very good at some things; I can be honest with myself about that. Whether you are new to blogging or a veteran, there’s a lot of juggling to do. Taking on such a hobby is a steep learning curve, but it’s achievable if you have the will and the motivation to make it. There are difficult days though. It’s not always going to be plain sailing. Here are my top ten struggles as a book blogger:-

 

Time

The largest commodity you have (and lose) when it comes to book blogging is time. A review post, when you take into consideration the time taken to read the book in question, can take several hours to produce. On average, for a 300-page book, I probably spend around four hours reading it and at least an hour and a half on my blog post itself. That’s quite a lot, right?

But of course, there is more to life than blogging. We need to eat, sleep, go to work (boo!) or meet friends from time to time etc. All these things snatch an awful lot of time off your hands. You’d be surprised how quickly it disappears!

 

Motivation

Sometimes, things are great! You can devour a book in two hours and get a review chucked together pretty damn quickly. It doesn’t always work that way though. If you’ve been slogging away and making slow progress for a little while, you feel the need for a break. There’s nothing wrong with that. My main hobby outside of the blog at the moment is playing Minecraft (such a nerd, I know). If I need a break from books, I’ll either try to build some new structures in my survival world; go explore some caves and/or strip mine or try (and usually fail) to build a redstone contraption. For those that don’t know, redstone is Minecraft’s equivalent of electricity. I’m not very good with it right now.

 

Being active on Social Media

For some people, this comes as naturally as breathing. On the other hand, I am terrible at it. I’m not religious with posting on my blog accounts (when I probably should be) and I pretty much never post on personal ones. It’s just not natural to me. Some people like to photograph every meal and post it online before they touch it (if there’s no proof it didn’t happen, one may argue). Not me though – I’d rather just eat it…

 

 

Reading Other Blogs

As a blogger, you would like to think I would read other people’s blogs. We’re all part of the same community; it’s only natural, right? Yes, you’re right, and again this is something I am prepared to admit I am terrible at.

I have to make a conscious effort to remember to read other blogs. I’m not in the habit. I even tried to incorporate a section in my Sunday Summary post to appreciate the best posts I’d read that week as an incentive. It’s not worked as well as I’d have liked, but I’m working on it. Promise!!

 

SEO / Marketing

Like, I get the concept, but this whole business is just a whole lot of complicated. I’m never going to be an expert at it so I’m not going to try. If Yoast’s little icon goes green, then I’m happy.

 

 

Over-commitment

It is far too easy to agree to every blog tour, review request and ARC that comes your way. That’s the quickest way to land yourself in a shit-storm. I’ll be frank. I’ve almost done it. When you sign up for too much or have too many imminent deadlines, the danger is you’ll shut down and maybe even turn away from blogging completely. The best thing to do is try not to take on too much. Learn what you are capable of managing and learn to say no. It’s hard, but you’ll thank yourself later. Trust me.

 

Writing posts last minute

This is kind of a drawback as last minute PC updates and blog downtime can put a spanner in the works. You might not even be in the right headspace to write that review that’s due to be published tomorrow. I’ve been here too. Whilst it’s a drawback in a way, I also couldn’t plan these things too much in advance. Firstly, I don’t have the time to write material to give myself a buffer, not even for a week. Secondly, I wouldn’t feel the payoff like I do now. By the time a post goes live, it won’t be fresh in my mind; I’ll have lost my connection to it or even forgotten it entirely.

 

Anti-socialism

This one sounds a little paradoxical – how can someone who publishes their thoughts and feelings openly online and interact with others about that be anti-social? By this, I’m talking about my people circle here at home. My friends and I aren’t the greatest at making plans anyway, but there are times when I don’t even want to go out and socialise – especially if I know I have a busy stint coming up blog-wise. Sorry guys…

 

 

Graphic design/ imagery

I admire people that can put so much time and effort into graphic design. I enjoy doing it, but being my usual last minute self, I don’t have time to produce new graphics for every blog post. I recycle where possible (a lot) and I should probably pull my finger out and try to mix things up a bit more.

 

 

 

Posting reviews to other sites

I know posting reviews to sites like Amazon and Goodreads are so helpful to authors, but I’m not the quickest in getting around to doing it. I tend to do it in batches where possible, but only semi-regularly. I’m just as bad at updating my review index too if that’s any consolation? No, I didn’t think that was going to work, but God loves a trier.

 

 

BLOGGERS – How long have you been blogging and what are your top struggles? Drop me a comment below and we’ll see if we have anything in common!

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 14th April 2019

Hi friends! Back again with another post today! Two posts in one day? Am I feeling alright? Yes, yes I am. It’s been a busy weekend and I’m looking forward to summarising the week’s shenanigans for you.

So, just what have I been up to? This week has been dominated by blog tour posts. I have signed up to four tours this month and these two came along in quick succession! I have a week’s respite before the next two come in thick and fast. On Thursday I published my review of Arbitrage by Collette Kebell – a financial crime novel that managed to teach me something about my own job industry. Fancy that! Then, earlier today, I posted my review of Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire. I started her series back in January with The Road to Alexander and I am already looking forward to the next two books I’m scheduled to review.

 

Books Read

I feel like I’ve made some respectable progress on the reading front this week too. In addition to the usual reading, I have made a little progress on my copy of Copyediting and Proofreading for dummies and worked my way through some course material I have signed up to. I can’t remember if I have mentioned it before or not, but I guess now its official. I’m learning the tricks of the trade as a proofreader and copyeditor! I’m only looking at the proofreading side of things at the moment, but I’m really enjoying it!

Along those lines, one of the first books I started making progress on was Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares by Shaun Hume. This is a light proofread project, (in addition to reading for review).

My primary focus of the week was Legends of Persia, for what I hope are obvious reasons. I started reading the book last week ahead of the tour, but I read the majority of it this week. Okay, yesterday. I wasn’t procrastinating, I promise. Do you know what I mean if I say I knew I had it so under control that I wasn’t worried about leaving it a little late? Well, it worked out fine anyway.

In addition to Legends of Persia, I have also made a start on the next ARC on my list – Trust Me by K. J. McGillick. I’m already just shy of 40% through the book, so I have a good head start ready for my review post at the end of next week. We also have a long weekend, which I am TOTALLY looking forward to!

Now for audiobooks! Around midweek I finished listening to Scythe by Neal Shusterman. It is completely different from anything I have read or listened to before. My next audible credit arrives sometime this week (I think?), so I’ll be using it to buy Thunderhead. I might not listen to it straight away, but it’s firmly on my list!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been keeping my head in the sand this week, so nothing to report here!

 

Coming Up…

So, what can you expect on the blog this week then? On account of the bank holiday weekend giving me some extra time, I have time scheduled for four blog posts. Again, two of those have to be on Sunday, which has partly influenced my decision.

As we have had a couple of reviews already this week, I want to start next week on a lighter note. I’ve decided to share another Top Ten Tuesday post, as it’s been a while since I last did one of those. They’re really fun! On Friday, I want to take another look at the TBR and have a clear out of the books that I no longer want to read.

Early on Sunday, I’ll be posting my blog tour review of Trust Me, my current read. I’ll be following up at the end of the day with my usual summary!

What are you reading this week? Have any nice plans for the Easter weekend?

 

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Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Legends of Persia – Jennifer Macaire

Whether you are new to my blog or a frequent visitor, hello and welcome! I trust you are having a lovely weekend? In today’s post, I get to share my thoughts with you about Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire, book two in the Time For Alexander series.

In addition to my review, there is also the chance to win a $10 Amazon gift certificate; you’ll find the details for that below.

Legends of Persia

When Ashley Riveraine jumped at the chance to travel back in time to meet her hero Alexander the Great, she never thought she would end up staying there…

Following Alexander the Great’s army on its journey across Persia, Ashley is walking the knife edge of history. As a presumed goddess, Ashley is expected to bless crops, make sure battles are won and somehow keep herself out of the history books.

Can Ashley avoid the wrath of the Time Institute while keeping the man she loves alive?

Goodreads – Legends of Persia

Purchase link – Legends of Persia

 

My Thoughts…

Picking up this second book of the series is like getting into your “old faithful” pair of jeans. They’re familiar, comfortable and you know they fit. Having read and reviewed The Road to Alexander earlier this year, I was in the perfect position to pick this up and follow on from the events that transpired in book one.

Interestingly, one element that I really enjoyed about the first book is barely mentioned in the second! The historical fiction and science fiction crossover in The Road to Alexander isn’t one that I have seen all that much of. Okay, to an extent they go hand-in-hand where time travel is concerned. In my experience though, I haven’t seen it in any great detail; Jennifer Macaire’s writing is the exception.

To help readers, the circumstances of Ashley’s long-term presence in Alexander the Great’s time zone are recapped briefly. As a recap though, these versions don’t touch on the scientific explanations of how the time travel happens, as they did in book one. I don’t think that as a drawback though – Legends of Persia stands as a brilliant historical fiction novel without the need to include the science fiction as an element of intrigue.

An additional advantage of picking up Legends of Persia immediately after an epic like A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin, is that it is really easy to read. I sat and engorged on 30% of this novel without even looking up in my first sitting. It didn’t take long to read either, and being so involved in the storyline and the characters trials and tribulations makes it so much easier. I say this a lot, but the writing style is make-or-break for me. I can get a good idea of how well I will get on with a book based on the first couple of pages alone. Jennifer Macaire’s writing style is very easy to read.

One of the other things I talked about in my review of The Road to Alexander was the sex and nudity throughout the novel. I went into Legends of Persia knowing what to expect, so I wasn’t so bothered about it this time around. The intimate moments aren’t so graphic in detail that it makes you uncomfortable as a reader, or so prolific to negate the actual storyline.

Throughout the series, the characters are more emotional than we are. Men cry and rejoice and love freely. There aren’t the constraints that the reader may expect; modern religion and society as we know it is yet to be born. I’m not all that versed in the sexual habits of people at the time, but I like the inclusion (and normalisation) of same sex relations between the characters. Love is for a person for who they are and doesn’t discriminate by sex or gender.

I’ve really enjoyed delving into both The Road to Alexander and Legends of Persia and re-living a historical time period largely unknown to me. I have already agreed to reading and reviewing the next two books in the series! I cannot wait for those!

 

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Social Media Links –

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

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jennifermacaire/

twitter @jennifermacaire

https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

 

Giveaway to Win a $10 Amazon gift certificate (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494212/?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 7th April 2019

Don’t the weekends just come and go so fast?! It only feels like 5 minutes ago since I was writing last week’s Sunday Summary post. I hope you have had a good week, whatever you have been up to!

Me? Well, mine has been quite a busy one. It’s rare for me to post four times a week, but that’s exactly what I have done! I published April’s reading list at the beginning of the week; I am taking part in a lot of blog tours, so the official list is dominated by ARC’s. As it happens, I am going to have more time on my hands than usual this month in terms of reading. I didn’t want to commit to reading more though, because I’ll probably balance my time with other little projects. Plus, I also have the freedom to pick up any book I like. Reading list posts are great motivators; I have proven I cannot do without them – but they can also feel a little restricting sometimes.

In addition, I have also published my review of The End of Magic by Mark Stay and a Q&A post with him. There is a chance to enter yourselves into a giveaway for a signed copy of the book, but you’ll have to be quick as it closes at 11:59 pm local time tonight.

 

Books Read

It’s been a pretty good week of reading here, which I’ll admit I am surprised about. I thought my blog post schedule might knock out some of my reading time, but I managed to work around it quite well! As promised, the first couple of days of this week were dedicated to finishing Arbitrage by Colette Kebell. I work in an industry that overlaps with the subject content of this novel, and I actually learned something new from it. Every day is a school day, right?

Next, I moved back to reading A Storm of Swords. I have been reading it for weeks now, just because it is so long. Guys… I did it! I have finished it! It was a long haul, but I got there in the end.

The advantage of reading really long, epic novels is that once you pick up a smaller book, you find yourself a third of the way through it without you even realising. That’s exactly what’s happened with my next read, Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire. I achieved that in one sitting too. I’m quite proud…

I’ve also kept up with listening to my latest audiobook, Scythe by Neal Schusterman. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with the comedown from Jay Kristoff’s Godsgrave, because damn that shit is fantastic! I am really enjoying Scythe as well though! It’s different, but that’s why I like it.

 

Books Discovered

 

I have not added any books to my TBR this week because I have been really good.

Who am I kidding?! Truth is, I’ve just been really busy – busy at work, personally, blogging, reading and playing Minecraft in my downtime, I haven’t been looking for new books. That’s an honest answer!

 

Coming Up…

I’m pleased to say things are going to slow down from the breakneck speed of last week. It’s fun, occasionally, but that’s not a blogging schedule I can keep up with reliably.

My blogging schedule is going to be thrown off a little bit as a result, because I have blog tours coming up on Sunday’s for the next couple of weeks. I’ll still be posting three times, but effectively I’ll be posting twice in one day – my review in the early morning and my Sunday Summary will drop in the late evening. Having a few days grace is going to work to my advantage because I have some catching up to do with a proofreading project.

My first review post is for Arbitrage, the ARC I finished up early this week. That post is being published on Thursday, so I hope you can check that out! My second review, on Sunday, is for my current read, Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire. What are you looking forward to next week? What will you be reading?

Author Interview: Mark Stay

Today’s blog post is going to be a little bit special; I will be handing over to Mark Stay very shortly so he can tell you about himself and his recently published fantasy novel, The End of Magic. I took the opportunity to share my thoughts in my review of the book yesterday. If you haven’t seen either my review or the opportunity to win yourself a signed copy of the book, please check out the link above and my Twitter/Instagram pages for two chances to enter! The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on Sunday 7th, so don’t hang around to get your entries in!

And now, I’ll graciously hand over to Mark for a brilliantly funny Q&A: –

 

 

Tell us a little about yourself

Having failed at my childhood dream of becoming either a firefighter or Luke Skywalker, I tried writing stories, then sketches, then acting, and then started a theatre company with my wife. I wrote a few plays, turned some of them into screenplays, met a film director, made a movie with him called Robot Overlords and now I’m writing books again. I’m too old to be a firefighter, and Luke Skywalker is (spoiler alert) dead, but there’s still time for a Morgan Freeman-like late-blooming acting career! Oh, who am I kidding…

I co-present a podcast for writers called the Bestseller Experiment, and I worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years, then last Christmas they finally had enough of me and made me redundant. I now write for food.

Who/what are your inspirations and influences?

I’m an odd hodgepodge of British TV character comedy writers such as John Sullivan and Galton & Simpson, American writers like William Goldman and David Mamet, and fantasists like Harry Harrison, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s amazing anything I write makes any sense whatsoever, but over time more of the real me has seeped into the writing and I’m discovering that’s a good thing.

The End of Magic had some fun influences, including the Coen Brothers’ film Miller’s Crossing (when someone pleads for their life), The Good, The Bad and the Ugly for a dollop of redemption (when Tico asks his brother for help), Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters for showing me how to make my unsympathetic protagonist a little more tolerable (see below), and a dash of Grimdark and Pratchett.

It’s refreshing to read a fantasy tale about magic and it’s influence coming to an end as opposed to prevailing. Was this difficult to write? How did you go about it?

I had to ask myself what I could bring to the fantasy genre that thousands of white middle-age blokes hadn’t done before, which got me thinking about privilege. And who in fantasy are more privileged than the classic wizard-mentor types? They love to torment their apprentices and can be unbearably smug and superior, so I wanted to take that archetype and rob them of the thing that made them special and see how they coped. Badly, it turns out. It’s a fun way to make an unsympathetic character engaging. I remember watching the film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters and having a revelation. You just have to make their lives an utter misery. It’s very therapeutic and enjoyable for the reader.

Ending magic and its influence was a reaction to some of the magic systems I’ve come across in fantasy, where there are so many appendices and rules it’s like the instructions for a complicated board game. I decided I would be clever and do without magic… then I realised I would have to create a magic system in order to understand what happens when you take it away, so I ended up making even more work for myself.

I knew I couldn’t be too radical in the magic or the worldbuilding. It had to be a familiar kind of magic and a recognisable fantasy world in order for the reader to be engaged in its destruction. I was basically taking a hammer to a few old fantasy tropes. There’s nothing wrong with those tropes, I enjoy them as much as ever, but it simply helped keep the reader on the hook, and it doesn’t hurt to give the establishment a light kicking every now and then.

There are, I’m happy to say, no appendices in The End of Magic.

There are a huge variety of characters in the book. How were these characters developed? Do you feel you relate well to any of them, or perhaps they remind you of people you know?

There’s a lot of me in the protagonist Sander Bree, in that I had nothing to complain about in my life, but I still wasn’t content. I had a good job, a home, a wonderful family, but also tons of anxieties, and there seemed to be no reason for them. So I wanted to see how bad things could really get, if simply to remind myself that I have it very good compared to most.

Rosheen Katell is a freelance mage and she has a strict moral code. She’s me on a good day — what what I would aspire to be — and if anything I had to make her story even more challenging for her. It’s easy to take the moral high ground when you have power, but if that power is taken from you then you have some very difficult decisions to make. There’s one terrible act that she commits not long after losing her power and readers have told me it brought them to tears, which is the highest compliment you can give to a writer. Their sadness made me very, very happy (writers are terrible people, really).

And Oskar, her younger brother, is a mute and considered feeble-minded at the start of the story, but he gains all sorts of extraordinary powers as the novel progresses. I wanted to take someone who was voiceless and powerless and see what they would do with that power. His story fascinates me as he’s the most complicated of the three. The conclusion to his story has shocked a few people, and rightly so. In a way, Oskar is like some of the online trolls we encounter. They would be terrified of confrontation in the real world, but now they have the power of anonymity they can do terrible things, but they open themselves up to punishment that they’re simply not prepared for. Poor Oskar really gets put through the wringer.

The supporting characters are huge fun to write. They’re not burdened with the weight of the story and you play a little more freely with them, though there’s a danger they can overwhelm your protagonist. Oskar started out with a much smaller role, but over drafts he grew to have a much more significant role in the story. In some ways, the novel becomes more about him than anyone else.

The End of Magic suggests a conclusion – is this a standalone book, or can we expect a further series?

 

They say you should write the book you want to read, and I wanted to write a page-turning, fun and accessible stand-alone. I’m a bit done with trilogies and never-ending series in fantasy*, and the challenge was to tell a one-and-done and give the reader a satisfying read and let them get on with their lives. That said, I’ve had threats that if I don’t write a sequel there will be trouble. I’ll see what the demand is. The door is open for more, but you can definitely enjoy The End of Magic as a story with a beginning, middle and end.

*In the meantime, I’ve started a middle grade science fiction trilogy, and a World War Two fantasy series that might never end, proving that I’m nothing if not a massive hypocrite.

 

 

About the Author

 

Mark co-wrote Robot Overlords with director Jon Wright for Piers Tempest’s Tempo Productions. This was selected for the 58th BFI London Film Festival. Mark also wrote the film’s novelisation to critical acclaim.

Mark is also co-presenter of The Bestseller Experiment, which was shortlisted for the Futurebook Podcast of the Year award. The podcast began when he and Mark Desvaux challenged themselves to write, edit, publish and market a bestselling eBook in just a year… and then actually did it with their novel Back To Reality, which was a number one Kindle bestseller in ten categories worldwide.

Now in its third year, the podcast works to inspire their listeners to finish their novels and get them published, and their alumni includes Pernille Hughes, Lorna Cook, Sally Harris and fantasy author Mike Shackle.

Mark worked in bookselling and publishing for over 25 years and is a regular on the conventions circuit. The End of Magic is his debut fantasy novel.

Website: https://markstaywrites.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/markstay

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