Tag: bookaholic

Reading List – September 2018

Good evening folks… I hope you are having a great weekend!

A new month is upon us once again, so it’s time to dust off the shelves and see which books I’ll be reading in September! Ironically, I’ll actually be reading the books on my list for Blog Tours mostly this month, so the TBR isn’t taking much of a dent. Shall we have a look at which books I’ll be reading/featuring on my blog soon?

 

The Barefoot Road – Vivienne Vermes

Goodreads – The Barefoot Road

 

Vivienne Vermes’ debut novel is a gripping read which will appeal to readers who enjoy historical fiction, thrillers and evocative themes. The book begins with a young woman found, emaciated and unconscious, in the mountains surrounding a village in Transylvania. When it is discovered that she is of an ethnic group which was violently driven out of the regions many years before, old wounds are reopened as the villagers are reminded of their role in the bloodshed.

An uneasy peace is maintained until a young married man falls in love with the girl, and tension begin to rise within the community. The mysterious disappearance of a child causes this tension to mount into hysteria, driving the story to its chilling outcome.

 

I’m looking forward to taking part in the upcoming tour for the novel, which has been organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. My review of the book will be published on 23rd September. I hope you can join me for that.

I was drawn to the book by the synopsis, in particular, the mystery of the girl and what kind of hysteria is associated following her presence in the town.

 

 

Ragis – Donna Migliaccio

Ragis

Goodreads – Ragis

 

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

His sister Melissa has defied him. His friend Olaf has betrayed him. The Wichelord Daazna’s ghostly laughter mocks him when he’s awake and robs him of his sleep at night. Even the protective powers of his legendary Stone are turning against him.

And now his companions, his ship and its precious cargo have been taken hostage. Kristan must give chase, in an unseaworthy vessel manned by an angry centaur crew. Ahead lie unfriendly waters, an ominous destination and a confrontation Kristan dreads.

In his despair, Kristan longs for the one person he has always trusted: his beloved Heather. But she’s far away, about to step into a trap that will endanger not just her command, but Kristan’s life.

 

I first featured this series on my blog at the beginning of this year… and I have really come to love it! Ragis is the fourth installment – anyone who wants to brush up on the earlier books can do so by reading my reviews of Kinglet, Fiskur and StoneKing by following the links.

I love epic fantasy, so being a part of the Blog Tour for Ragis was a no-brainer for me! I’m reviewing this book as a part of the tour on 25th September.

 

 

A Stain on the Soul – Elizabeth Davies

Caitlyn is resigned to another lifetime of being a familiar – the witch’s lifetime that is, not her own – and has found a degree of peace in her role as the Duke of Normandy’s protector and spy.

That peace is shattered when she returns to England and comes face-to-face with her past, and with a man who she desperately hopes will become her future.

 

I am reading the first book of this series, Three Bloody Pieces at the moment. As yet, the cover has not been revealed for this book, but that is being published later this month! The Blog Tour is taking place in October, but to make sure I have plenty of time to read this, it is on September’s TBR.

 

 

Desolation – Jesper Schmidt

Goodreads – Desolation

 

Just as Aea had finally found happiness in her troubled life, everything starts to fall apart. When she discovers that her sister, Isota, is still alive, Aea ventures to save her, well aware that every Duian who leaves the forest realm of Thaduin will inevitably catch a deadly disease, the Field Blight. Aea finds herself in a race against time.

Arkum’Sul really wants nothing but to be left alone. Being the sole survivor of his race, and the son of a dragon god, makes such desires difficult to fulfill.

Meanwhile, Ayida, another Duian, resides in the Bronze Tower, far north of Thaduin, where she has grown to become a powerful spellcaster. However, it requires all of her skills to heal herself of the Field Blight daily. This place is the heart of the Magio Order, a dominant organization of female magic-wielders, where Ayida has tried for decades to ascend from Apprentice to the rank of Sienna… and failed every time. As she makes another attempt, all goes horribly wrong.

Will the world of Erisdün survive as ancient myths and reality become one?

 

I’ve had an ARC copy of this book to read for some time…but something else always managed to creep up and take priority. Well, enough is enough! Described as a “fast-paced fantasy, with dragons, demons, and magic”, I really hope to enjoy reading this one!

It’s waited long enough…

 

 

Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies

“I am a cat. But I am no ordinary cat. I am a witch’s familiar. I am also a woman, with a woman’s heart and a woman’s frailty.”​

Two hundred years have passed since Caitlyn was trapped by dark magic and she has known many mistresses. This time the witch she is enthralled to is Joan, wife to Llewelyn, Prince of Wales.

For Caitlyn, this mistress appears no different from any of the others she has been forced to serve. That is, until Llewelyn captures William de Braose and holds him and his men prisoner, and Joan falls for William and risks everything, including Caitlyn, to fulfil her desire.​

Caitlyn, meanwhile, has her own cross to bear in the form of the gallant and reckless Hugh of Pembroke…

 

This is the third book in the Caitlin series, and again, no cover has been revealed as yet. This is due to come out in October, with my review on the blog tour coming at the very beginning of November. I figure I am as well continuing with the series whilst it is fresh in my mind. That also means that I can have my review prepared in plenty of time for the Tour!

 

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

Goodreads – The Eye of the World

 

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

 

Yes, this is on the list AGAIN!

I managed to read about half of the book last month, so I am pleased with that much. It’s a long book, okay? It’s also quite difficult to follow. I found myself picking it up and reading other books in between last month, just because I needed the breaks to digest what was going on. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do the same this month and work my way to the end!

 

So… that’s the list! What are you reading this month?

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Broken Empire – Mark Lawrence

As a reader and reviewer of fantasy novels, I spend a lot of my time talking about the tropes of the genre. More often than not, I’m criticising one or another as I feel they are overused. An orphaned child becoming the Chosen one. A prophetic coming-of-age tale is but another common example.

The series I am featuring today should be recognised for not following the footsteps of others by relying on common fantasy themes that now define the genre – The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

 

Synopsis…

Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.

From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

 

My Thoughts…

To suggest that Jorg Ancrath is an anti-hero is a major understatement. He is a See You Next Tuesday kind of guy.

Kids, if you don’t know what this means, you are too young for this series and my review. Come back in ten years… and for god’s sake don’t Google it either.

The series is definitely for those of a more mature mindset. I read these at the age of 18 and the content didn’t particularly bother me. It’s bloody, violent and hints at sexual violence. It’s a series that you will either really get on with, or these things will make you run for the hills.

 

I, however, really enjoyed reading this series with a **less-than-perfect** main character.

 

There are a lot of fantasy books with main characters that have great intentions but screw up somewhere down the line. Whilst there are a good number of altruistic people out there, realistically most people aren’t. We have moments of selfishness. We want things we shouldn’t, or we behave inappropriately. We are only human after all.

Jorg’s character takes this to an EXTREME level; I am not condoning his actions for a second. That being said, I found it refreshing to read the anti-hero’s side from a human, intimate perspective. Many demonise these characters and define them only for their crimes… not who they are. Jorg had a troubled childhood. This is not offered as an excuse, but more an explanation. As a reader, you cannot help but pity the young boy for his position and root for him to redeem himself.

If you were in his position, would you not seek redemption in much the same way?

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss

I wanted to start my new mini-review series with a set of books that I love. Equally, I wanted to choose books that aren’t so cliché that they make for an obvious choice. To that end, I have chosen The Kingkiller Chronicles, or perhaps better known by the first book of the series, The Name of the Wind.

 

The Kingkiller Chronicles – Patrick Rothfuss

 

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

 

My Thoughts…

This is definitely a series I am going to re-read in my lifetime. I fell in love with the narrative straightaway and the characters shortly after that. I’ve just had a look at my shelf. I used to own a physical copy of The Name of the Wind, but I donated it to charity when I last had a sort out. I have an electronic copy instead, as I own the rest of the series on Kindle. I’ll console myself with the knowledge that someone else has the chance to enjoy a brilliant book.

The tale is narrated by Kvothe; he recounts his life to the well-known traveling scribe, otherwise known as the Chronicler. Kvothe’s triumphs and tribulations are recorded in equal measure. Kvothe is almost unapologetic for the mistakes he makes, which in any other character would border on arrogance. Rothfuss, however, is very good at making our characters likeable… flaws and all.

I also really enjoyed reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a novella that takes the perspective of Auri. Kvothe meets Auri at the University in the main series. It is through The Slow Regard of Silent Things that we come to learn more about this mysterious girl’s life. It is an unusual book, as it is less structured than The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, but again the narrative is beautiful. Auri has a unique and almost innocent perspective; she isn’t quite naive, but her curiosity surpasses that of any child. Becuase of this, she is an adorable character whom you cannot help but take under your wing.

 

Conclusion…

If you love epic fantasy and have the chance to try the series, I seriously implore you to do so. The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear average at 4.5 stars on Goodreads for a reason!

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 12th August 2018

It’s the end of another week friends! Have you all had a good one? It’s been a pretty good one here, I have to say. Despite it being a normal working week, I’ve had the pleasure of reading some pretty fantastic books. That’s what counts, right?

I really enjoyed writing my review for Children of Blood & Bone this week. I think the book is fantastic and I am so glad it has received such a positive reception. Interestingly, I also saw Tomi Adeyemi on BBC News… in which she said that a film was being made of the book! I’ve read the book first, so that’s license to go and watch the film when it’s out. That is if they show it here…

On Friday I also published the latest Down the TBR Hole post, with little success in clearing out the list. I only binned off one book, but at least I know I still want to read the other nine I reviewed. What can I say; I just have good taste in books!

 

Books Read

This week feels like a really productive one!

I have been reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and I will say, it is quite a dense read. Since last week I have progressed from around 20% to 47%. I’m nearly half way! It is hard going at times though. It’s not that the book isn’t enjoyable… it is just that there is a lot going on and a lot of information to process. I’ve found that I read it better when I take breaks and read something else in between chapters.

For a few days, that “something else” has been Individutopia by Joss Sheldon. I would argue that this book is more political type fiction than I would normally read, but I have enjoyed it though! I finished this last night as I listened to the rain belting against the window and the wind howling (perfect reading weather, imho). I’m going to be sharing my thoughts with you really soon, so stay tuned. Reading this book in between has also been useful as I am pretty up to date with reviews – spending too long on Eye of the World would make me struggle for content. It’s a win-win situation.

In the same vein as Individutopia, I have started reading The Relic Guild in between chapters of The Eye of the World. I am only a few chapters in so far, having only started the book last night. I’m enjoying it because it is the first physical book I have picked up in a wee while. Kindles are great for practicality, but they don’t quite replace the real thing though.

Last, but by no means least – I FUFILLED MY PROMISE TO FINISH NEVERNIGHT!!

It’s been a long time coming, but I got there in the end. I tend to listen to audiobooks when getting ready for work in the morning. Lately, I’ve not been sleeping so well – so in the morning I’m too tired to even try to follow it. I’ve done it though! Moving onwards and upwards, I’m listening to Godsgrave next!

 

 

Books Discovered

This feels pretty much like the story of my life. Remember I took one book off the TBR in Friday’s installment of Down the TBR Hole?

Yeah, well I’ve already replaced it.

As I also think I established in that post, I have a particular love for Tudor history – especially Henry VIII. I am really interested in the history of the monarch himself, and his wives, so adding this book to the list was a no-brainer. I saw that the book was on offer for £1.99 – it would have been rude not to?

I’ll tell myself that.

 

 

Coming Up…

IndividutopiaSo, as I previously mentioned, I am going to be sharing my thoughts of Individutopia with you next week! I found the book really easy to read, even though the setting and mindset of our main character was a little extraordinary. If you want to find out more, please check out my review on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

I am also going to be starting another mini-series, friends! I’ve been thinking for a little while about how many books I have read before starting my blog. It’s quite a few! Therefore, to incorporate these books on my blog, I am going to be writing mini-reviews of them! I cannot promise that they are hugely specific (as I read them a long time ago) – but it may just be enough to either introduce a new series to you all, or find other like-minded friends!

I’ll be writing my first post on Thursday!

Book Review Banner

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

 After a false start earlier this year, I finally got around to starting the much-talked-about series, A Darker Shade of Magic.

I had added the book to my TBR in February last year, so it’s taken a while to get to. Ever since joining Twitter in September, people I follow were retweeting Victoria Schwab so regularly that I didn’t even need to follow her. I do now, of course. My point is this – so many people are talking about her and her books. I just had to try A Darker Shade of Magic for myself!

 A Darker Shade of Magic

 Goodreads – A Darker Shade of Magic

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

 

My Thoughts…

Naturally, I went into reading this book with high expectations. Everyone seems to be raving about the series. I suppose the question you are here to find the answer to, is if I think it lived up to expectation.

Well yes, but also no. Allow me to elaborate.

I really enjoyed the book. The premise of four versions of London, each with its own degree of magic was what drew me in. I love magic and fantasy is my favourite genre, so this is a perfect read for me. My only wish was that each “London” had more resemblance to London as we know it. I appreciate that each “London” in A Darker Shade of Magic is in a different world. Yet, other than the presence of the Thames in Red London and the English language, there were no other significantly obvious landmarks – or any similarities were too subtle to notice. I have only been to London once (as a child), so my knowledge isn’t that great. I may have missed something, but I just didn’t get as much of a magic/realism vibe as I was hoping for.

The characters were great. Each has their own back-story and it is easy to invest in them all. Kell is adorable in that his compassion for others is admirable. As a reader, you cannot help but feel for Holland and his situation. The standout character though, in my opinion, was Lila. Whilst I would say that both Lila and Kell are fairly equally developed characters, I just adored Lila’s fierceness. She has always had to make her own way in Grey London and the combination of her naivety and sheer will is cute.

A Darker Shade of Magic lives up to the name. The plot was interesting and well thought out – and there were parts of it that were darker than I expected! Magic can be idealised to be a wonderful power… but really it all depends on who wields it. This really comes into play throughout and gave the book an exciting edge.

 

Conclusion…

I did enjoy the book enough to rate it four stars on Goodreads – but not five. I expected to leave this book and be diving into the next one straight away… but I’m not. I think book publicity is a double-edged sword. Obviously, people need to hear about books in order to become interested and buy them. Equally, if you see/hear so much about a book, series or author, you can build up an expectation that realistically cannot be fulfilled. I think this is what happened with A Darker Shade of Magic. I am going to read the remainder of the series because I did enjoy it… just not as much as I had expected I would.

 

Book Review: Eternity’s Echoes – Evan Hirson

Hi everybody!!

Today I am pleased to be sharing my review of Eternity’s Echoes with you! I’m going to go ahead and get the boring part out of the way, so then we can begin in earnest!

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

Eternity's Echoes

Goodreads – Eternity’s Echoes

Aaron was a promising software designer with an upcoming company. He shared a quaint house on the outskirts of town with his best friends; another young man and two girls. They’d known each other since school, and lived together peacefully for years with few problems.

Travis the newcomer however had a dark way about him, and all of Aaron’s attempts to get along with him had failed.

But just as the household began to settle down again, a strange device with a peculiar attitude entered their lives.

Would it fulfil all of their dreams, or instead become a curse?

 

I was on a science-fiction high from reading Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio, before diving into Eternity’s Echoes.

Science-fiction is probably the genre I pick up the least often (aside from those I don’t touch at all, obviously…) because I don’t consider myself “technically” minded and thus inadequate to read it. Start talking to me about a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff,  or the physics behind it and you will see my eyes simply glaze over.

*Extra points to anyone who knows who I am quoting there*

I think science-fiction can be perceived as falling in either one of two ballparks – the first is that of complex ideas, detailed explanations and the requirement of some kind of quantum physics degree just to keep your head above water. Perhaps I perceive this because I definitely put myself into the second category; a reader that loves the general idea of time/space travel and advanced technology explored in many science-fiction novels, but really doesn’t want to know the ins-and-outs of how it works, why it works or which century it may or may not come from in the future.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to which side of the fence you are on… we are all different after all. So how does this have any bearing when it comes to Eternity’s Echoes?

The book certainly started off with the simple idea of time travel, how some events cannot and should not be altered else the fabric of time will unravel. Gradually, further ideas are introduced as to what is possible in time travel, and what problems or limitations there may be in using it. It all seems reasonably straight forward – a science noob like me can get their head around that. In that sense, the book is approachable for a wide audience.

After I received the review request and I looked into the book, I was pleased about the inclusion of a character who suffers with anxiety to such an extent that she remains housebound – sometimes even refusing to come out of her room. It is so rare to have a character like this in books. These are completely normal and real issues that normally get no fanfare or spotlight. This, however, was Kim’s only defining feature. Indeed, I feel all of the characters have so much more scope for development. In their current incarnation they serve the purpose of representing different types of people, but they are very difficult to relate or invest with otherwise.

I found the day to day “lifestyles” of the teenagers impeded on the progress of the plot. Considering three of the five teens weren’t even working/studying, or even have any kind of fixed schedule, I felt that more could have happened. As a result of a couple of different schedules, the narrative had to jump around considerably to allow these group “events”. Personally, I felt that this didn’t really sit well, considering the idea of the book is that the manipulation of time was at the fingertips of the protagonists.

That being said, the plot and it’s twists and turns did pull it together later in the text. The story became more sophisticated and my overall rating of the book was brought up as a result of this. This has raised the question within me as to whom the target audience is, because I feel the delivery of the narrative may be better suited to a younger audience, whilst the plot fits an older demographic in terms of complexity.

But these are just my musings. Overall it was a refreshing read to add to my collection, and it has encouraged me to pick up science fiction more often. I hope to see further development of the characters and the plot in the sequel.
Rebecca mono