Tag: bookblog

Reading List: December 2018

When I look back on last month’s approach to reading – only setting a couple of books to read, it is with mixed feelings.

I set myself the task of re-reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin and getting around to my last NetGalley ARC, The Mansions of Murder by Paul Doherty. Re-reading A Game of Thrones is no mean feat – it is over 850 pages in its own right! However, I didn’t finish reading any others. I am also 60% through I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson, which is good. I wouldn’t describe this book as “my genre”, but it’s good to try something new. In addition to these two books, I also struggled through half of Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski before setting it aside. For now, at least.

I think my reading (or lack thereof) was a result of “unfortunate events” – combine trying to read one epic book along with another that is completely not your genre at all. Add to that a book you REALLY want to love and can’t really bear to DNF (but have to) and it all ends up a pretty toxic mix. I was also away for a few days, so that knocks out the schedule too.

 

That said, it’s only the 6th December and I have read Facing A Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury already.

Perhaps I needed the break… or the start of a new month to breathe in some fresh air and start again. I’m not ready to write off the more relaxed approach yet. I just need to find the middle ground, is all. So, which books are going to make it onto the list for December?

 

The Road to Alexander – Jennifer Macaire

I am looking forward to reading this book in advance of the blog tour next month! The novel is based around time travel, with influences of Greek mythology. I’m not all that versed in Greek mythology I must admit, so I want to see how much influence it has in this book and whether it inspires me to read on further. The synopsis of the book makes it sound like a hilarious read too!

 

Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares – Shaun Hume

When I started my blog early last year, Shaun Hume was the first author to contact me for a review. Well, now he is back! The second book of the Ewan Pendle series has been released and he has asked if I will review the book for him. Obviously, the answer was yes! Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith is a refreshing read in a genre that I really enjoy. Now I get to find out the next step in his adventures!

 

The Cathedral of Known Things – Edward Cox

I fell in love with the fantasy world the Relic Guild series is based in earlier this year. I received copies of the series by Gollancz in exchange for a review and it’s time to delve into book 2. The storyline is intricate and detailed (without being too complicated) and the characters are adorable. I knew when I finished this book that I wouldn’t be able to wait for too long until picking up the next one.

 

So, those are just some of the books I am planning on reading this month! What is on your reading list?

Blog Tour Review: Facing a Twisted Judgment – K J McGillick

I am really looking forward to today’s blog tour post for Facing a Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick. I was kindly invited to the tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. A massive thank you to both of you for enabling me to enjoy this thrilling read!

 

Purchase Links: Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk

Goodreads – Facing A Twisted Judgment

 

Synopsis

What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system?  Probably not.

After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace.

When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved.

As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha.

Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.

 

My Thoughts…

Give me a crime novel with any number of suspects and I’ll sit there and try to deduce my way through it like a very amateurish Poirot. The measure of a good crime novel is whether I THINK I’ve hacked it or not. As I said, I’m not very good at these things. I’m always wrong, but I enjoy the attempt nonetheless.

I was kept guessing throughout this book! I doubted everyone and everything I was told, trusting none of the characters…well, except Dalia. Was it truly the cold and calculating husband? Maybe it was the psycho sister or brother serving time for fraud. The investigation targets the husband very quickly and the evidence starts to mount up against him.

The narrative is clearly constructed from two perspectives; Dalia, employed by the company trying to recover several pieces of artwork valued at 130million dollars, and suspect number one himself. Dalia’s background as an attorney means she cannot help but take a natural interest in the disappearance of Samantha and subsequent investigation. Her narrative is balanced between developing her character and current events. Of all the characters in the book, I found Dalia to be the most authentic and relatable. As a newcomer to the team and the investigation, we unravel the mystery through her eyes.

Alex is far from a likable character, but his portrayal in the narrative is intriguing and wonderfully written. He is an attorney himself, but with a shady past, a long list of ex-wives and a cold/calculating demeanor, he is far from squeaky clean. When this newlywed’s wife goes missing along with some of her most valuable assets, Alex’s primary concern for the insurance claim on the artwork paints a sinister picture.

I loved reading the chapters from Alex’s perspective because I was intrigued by how emotionally detached he is as a person. Psychology is a subject that I been interested in since the age of 17; Alex makes an interesting test case. His almost split personality can turn at the flick of a switch. His need for control and ability to manipulate people is unnerving. When his wife plans to go against his wishes with the assets he helped her win in court, what lengths will he go to in order to get his way?

A concise narrative makes Facing A Twisted Judgment easy to pick up but hard to put down.

 

About the Author

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?

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 – Facebook   Twitter @KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

 

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd December 2018

Hey everyone!! Are you having a lovely weekend? I sure have! Not only have I already had my work Christmas party… I’ve also been putting up various decorations at home and for family. It’s official – Christmas is on the way!

 

 

Last week’s Sunday Summary was a little late, so I only published one post this week – a Throwback Thursday review of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle books. As a young teenager, I really enjoyed Eragon and Eldest, but I still DNF’d the series. If you want to find out why you can check it out in my post!

 

Books Read

I finished it! My 2nd re-read of A Game of Thrones is done! As I expected, I really enjoyed reading this again. I find that it is good to go back to the beginning sometimes to refresh your knowledge… especially for a series as epic in size as this one!

I have also made further progress with I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. This book is so funny and I can see all the general antics and mishaps happening to me if I have kids. I really can. It’s just the right sense of humour I need at the moment.

I have made a start on Facing a Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick. It is a book that I am blog touring on really soon too, and I am going to have to cram read some of this tonight in order to get the post together. I have already made good headway and it isn’t a heavy read, so I can do it.

 

Books Discovered

I actually added this book to my Goodreads to-read list a couple of weeks ago, but forgot to tell you all! Shameful, I know. Originally I saw a later book of this series advertised somewhere. From that, I opted to look at Limelight to see where Penny Green’s story begins; a murder of a woman who reportedly died years ago? I’m in for that.

 

Coming Up…

This week is going to be pretty busy blog wise! As I mentioned above, I have a blog tour for Facing A Twisted Judgment coming up soon. Tuesday, in fact. Yes, it’s that soon, so I need to get reading to finish that one!

As it is also the beginning of a new month I’ll be putting together a reading list for the month! I decided to try a new approach in November and not restrict my reading to a set list so much. I’m not entirely decided as to how well that’s working at the moment. I only read one of the two books I set out to, as well as part reading a couple of others. That said, this month was disrupted by a trip away. Things haven’t been the greatest at work either. I’m not writing off the approach yet – I think I need to give it another go.

How has your week been? Are we feeling festive yet?

Throwback Thursday Review: The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini

Today’s Throwback Thursday review of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is going to be a mixed bag. It’s a series I started and loved in the beginning, but ultimately I have DNF’d it.

 

Goodreads – Eragon

Goodreads – Eldest

Goodreads – Brisingr

Goodreads – Inheritance

Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands. . . .

 

My Thoughts…

I started reading Eragon whilst I was at school. I have a particular friend whom I aspired to be like at school. She was into the same books as me – in fact, it was unusual to meet her without a book in hand. (She is also the person who introduced me to Terry Pratchett, I might add).

I had seen her reading Eragon before I had picked it up, so naturally, I had to read it too! I loved the fantasy element of the book; at that time, the young-boy-coming-of-age trope was still exciting. And who doesn’t love dragons?!

If you don’t… you have no soul. Just saying.

I really enjoyed reading the first book; it is magical – and the worldbuilding! I found it very immersive.

I would say that Eragon is a book that I read in my bookworm infancy. At that point, I hadn’t really refined my preferences. I was drinking up everything I could. By the time I got around to Eldest, though, I had started to formulate my own ideas of what I liked and what I didn’t. It’s not that I didn’t like Eldest particularly, I did. I have fond memories of ignoring my duties of supervising younger kids during break and being stood next to a radiator with these books instead. Much more fun, yes?

So, what do I think went wrong?

If I am 100% honest, I think I just outgrew these books. I recall finding the second book immature in the plot and writing style. Frustration peaked because I feel the book could have been better. I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t get past the barrier that presented itself.

I haven’t attempted Brisingr or Inheritance because I don’t think I can bring myself to. The plot is well and truly lost to me so I would be back at square one, with far less appreciation for the tropes it relies on. I don’t think I will enjoy it and I don’t think I need a better reason to not read these books. If we cannot take enjoyment out of reading, then what is the point?

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 25th November 2018

Hi guys!

So, some of you may have noticed that I didn’t publish a Sunday Summary post last week. More than likely… no one noticed at all! That’s okay though, I spent some great time with family and got some Christmas shopping done!

Yes, I said it. Christmas. Shopping.

I may have bought myself one or two things whilst away… you know, strictly one or two.

 

I am also a little late in publishing this one. Sorry guys! Unless you have a death wish, going back into the office without treats after a holiday is a dangerous affair. It’s all stares and disgruntled mutterings but you just know you have that black mark against your name. In fairness, it hasn’t been a great week there (not because I wasn’t there – I don’t think THAT MUCH of myself), so I decided to do the best thing I could and baked.

You can see the picture on my instagram – they went down a treat at work. Brownie points for Rebecca!

 

So, personal life antics aside… what else have I been up to?

Well, skipping back over the last couple of weeks, I published a review of Frankenstein that was much overdue. I found myself in a little bit of a writing slump, so I can’t say I’m overly thrilled with the review. It passes (I hope)… but it certainly isn’t my finest work.

I also put together a review for Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor! Whilst I was away I had a couple of hours to myself… so I put them to good use. I really enjoyed reading Muse of Nightmares because there is so much more to it than Strange the Dreamer. I expected the book to be different, I’ll add, but the actual story is far better than I could have EVER imagined. Read it. Seriously.

After getting back home from my jollidays, (yes, I really did just say that) I decided to review the TBR again in another Down the TBR Hole post. It’s the sort of thing that you really need to keep on top of, so I like to chip away at it. By that, I really mean that I try to break even. I keep adding new books to the list all the time!

 

Books Read

My time off work this month has been a lot busier than last month, so I haven’t gotten as much reading done. I have made more progress with reading A Game of Thrones. Having looked back at my last Sunday Summary post, I’ve actually read more than I thought! I have jumped from just less than 50% to 88%. I managed to fit a bit of reading in whilst commuting on my trip, but never really for any length of time. Since I have nearly finished this book, I am going to try to finish it tonight – tomorrow at the latest!

Before my trip away, I was also reading Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski. I don’t really feel I have made a lot of progress with this book so far. I’m finding the pacing to be a little slow at the moment, but it should pick up in time. I haven’t actually touched this book since my return yet; I’ll have another bash at it once A Game of Thrones is ticked off the list.

In the times where a lighter read was required, I have been reading I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. I have actually read part of this book before; I borrowed it from my school library years ago! It definitely has the laugh out loud humour I’ve needed. The other two books make for quite heavy reading, so needing a break is not unreasonable. I don’t normally read contemporaries/women’s literature. I have to be in the mood for it. I’ve managed just over a hundred pages last week alone, so that isn’t such bad going either.

 

Books Discovered

My self-imposed book ban is now OVER!!!! Thank goodness for that! I was restraining myself knowing that November was going to be an expensive month. Now it’s over, I can spend however much I like on books hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

Obviously, that’s a lie. I haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet so I shouldn’t celebrate too early. But, I don’t have flights, hotels, food and spending money to worry about… so I can breathe a little easier.

On Tuesday, the last day of my trip, I decided to use some of my leftover budget to get myself a copy of Fire and Blood. It was publishing Day and half price. The illustrations are beautiful and so is Martin’s writing. I’d have to be daft not too!

 

Coming Up…

It will be good to finally get things back on track! Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time! I hope to be able to go away and see my sister again before too long. But, it’s nice to get back to the familiar, to get back into routine.

So, what am I posting on my blog this week? Well, this week I want to write another Throwback Thursday Review. I started this series so I had the chance to feature books read prior to starting my blog. They have all played their part in making me the bookworm I am today, so it makes sense to make a space for them here. This week’s post will be a mixed review because it is a series I loved initially, but have stopped reading.

 

In terms of reading progress, I am pushing to finish A Game of Thrones tonight. At the latest, I want to finish this tomorrow.  I am also going to try and finish I Don’t Know How She Does It, because I need to start my next read for an upcoming Blog Tour.

How has your week been? What have you been reading?

Book Review Banner

Book Review: Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

The first time I read Frankenstein, I absolutely hated it.

Reading the book was part of the school curriculum for my class, and my fourteen-year-old-self did not appreciate it at all.

In hindsight, I attribute that to the particular teacher I had. Teachers, you do a fabulous, grueling and hard-working job. Most of you are very good at what you do and I wouldn’t be the same person if not for your influence. This one though… she has to be the most unpleasant teacher I have ever had.

Anyway, no need for more of that negativity here. It is a regular occurrence though; all the books I read for school, I didn’t like…. almost. I think the only exceptions are Stone Cold by Robert Swindells (there’s a story for THAT teacher too) and Of Mice and Men – eventually. I didn’t take to it straightaway, but came to love it by the time we had finished studying it.

Books should be read and appreciated without being analysed to death, okay? If ANYONE thinks that’s fun, they need their head read.

Source: Giphy

Their heads READ… get it?!

Alright – I won’t give up my day job just yet…

 

Frankenstein

Goodreads – Frankenstein

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

 

My Thoughts…

I was inspired to pick this book up again after watching an event held during the Manx Litfest. A re-telling of Frankenstein was performed by Ben Haggarty and Sianed Jones – and an excellent performance it was! So much so, I picked up the book as soon as I got home.

Regardless of how much you read into the story – it is an enjoyable one. That everyone knows of Frankenstein’s monster and the basic story speaks volumes about the success of this book. I enjoyed reading it this time around, unlike my first experience with this book. If you haven’t read the book before, then I really must insist you do! If there is a bucket list of books, this ought to be on it!

Some of the ideas brought to the table are philosophically sophisticated, which is astounding considering Mary Shelley was so young when she wrote this book! I can’t say I walked away from the book debating the nature of life and science, but hey, you can if you want to. I guess this is what makes the book a favourite for school curriculum’s… if not students!

I’ll admit attending the re-telling made the book more approachable. Ban Haggarty narrated the story in a way that everyone can understand. The book itself, due to its age and (the style of literature at the time), is grammatically more complex than modern text. I did struggle with this a little at times, particularly once I had been reading for a while. Frequent breaks helped me get over this though, so it isn’t a huge stumbling block.

I definitely appreciate the book now I am older and reading it for my own enjoyment. Studying books is just soul crushing… okay? Why do we force kids to do it?! Whether I enjoyed studying the **** out of this book or not, there is plenty of food for thought.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 11th November 2018

Evening all! Today’s Sunday Summary post is being written in a little haste, so I apologise if it doesn’t live up to the usual standard. I don’t really know what’s happened this week, but it’s just felt a little topsy turvy.

I’ll be the first person to admit that I like having a bit of routine. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with that, but it throws you off the minute the routine is out of the window. This week is one of those, unfortunately.

I promised to post two reviews this week – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. Neither of these happened, and for that I am sorry. I have drafted a review for Frankenstein – I’ve stared at my screen for three nights this week to put it together. I am still not happy with it. That’s why I haven’t published it. I also didn’t want to start writing a review for Muse of Nightmares without finishing Frankenstein. It muddles my head doing that.

Even tonight, I would normally dedicate my time to writing my Sunday Summary post, but instead, I am baking for a charity cake sale at work tomorrow. Half of this post was written this morning ready. You can tell I’m not a baker. My victoria sponge is taking longer to cook than I anticipated and I am literally sat on the edge of my seat, paranoid about leaving it longer. Fingers crossed it turns out okay!

 

Books Read

This week I have been focusing on reading more of A Game of Thrones. As with things going out of the window, my original plan to finish Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski didn’t happen. Next week, I promise. Honestly! Still, I made a lot of progress with A Game of Thrones though. It’s a long book and now I’m just shy of 50% through!

 

Books Discovered

I’m still on my book ban. I’m surprised I have managed to stick to it too! Maybe being busy has helped; if I don’t see books I want I can’t buy them, right?

 

Coming Up…

I am going to fulfill the promises I made earlier last week. I’m going to give myself a kick up the behind and get my review of Frankenstein published! I am nearly there, so it shouldn’t take too much work to complete.

I’ll also publish my review of Muse of Nightmares. I won’t struggle to review this book at all – I think I could gush about it all day!

In addition to these posts,  I want to draft another post in anticipation of next week. Why? Well, I am taking another trip to visit family and I won’t be back until Wednesday. I need to fill the void somehow. My going away means that there won’t be a Sunday Summary post next week! Sorry guys! Hopefully I will have a massive update for you all when I get back!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 4th November 2018

Good evening ladies and gents! It’s time for another Sunday Summary post, in which I reflect on a very busy week!

This will be my fourth post of the week; normally I don’t schedule in so many posts, but a couple of reviews and a new reading list for the month were all due at the same time. It has been fun, although I can practically see steam coming off my hands from typing so much!

On Monday I posted my review of The Hidden Face by S. C. Flynn. The author kindly offered me a copy of the book in exchange for review; it’s been the first direct request I have had for a little while, so it made a refreshing change to read.

Then, on Wednesday I shared my (very short) TBR for the month. It’s not that I am not planning on reading this month… don’t be silly. That would be like telling me not to breathe! This month, I decided to give myself a little more freedom in the books I read as opposed to a full, set list.

Friday was my stop on the Blog Tour for Another Kind of Magic, the third and final book of the Caitlin series by Elizabeth Davies. As an avid reader of historical fiction and a great lover of magic, this series was a treat for me. If you haven’t read any of these books, please go and read my reviews… or better yet, give them a try! If you do, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

 

Books Read

Following on from last week’s Sunday Summary post, I began the week by finishing reading The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich. I reviewed Copper Sky, another of Milana’s books back in March this year. After doing so, Milana kindly asked if I would accept a copy of The Swan Keeper to read and review at a later date. Naturally, I accepted. I really enjoyed both the plot and the characters.

Also featuring today (and in my Sunday Summary post last week) is Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski. I confess though I have read less of this book than last week. I have made some progress here, so I include it, but not a lot. The majority of my time has been spent on another book this week.

A Game of Thrones – how I love this series! I have already read this book twice over, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s the kind of treasure you could never get bored of. A Game of Thrones is one of two books I have set myself the task of reading this month; considering its size and the fact that I only started reading this on Thursday, I’m impressed that I’m already 25% through. I can, and have, literally sat with this book for hours. I look forward to many more!

There is something else. The desperate urge to include a GoT pun in this post is overwhelming. I apologise in advance.

I decided to take a little break from the book last night by taking up a hobby I haven’t really touched in a year or so. Given that my current woolly hat is a little old, used and is showing its age, I decided to test my crochet skills by making one! I haven’t made anything in a while, but I found a reasonably simple pattern online and I started to make it. Why? Well the answer is simple.

Wait for it…

Source: Giphy

 

I SAID I’M SORRY – Okay!!

But I’m not really…

 

Books Discovered

So, this is one of those rare weeks when I literally have nothing to say in this section! As I think I mentioned in a previous Sunday Summary post, I am on a book ban.

Why do I do this to myself?

 

Coming Up…

Although I had a fabulous week with lots of posts, I’m scaling back to my usual schedule next week. It gives me enough breathing space to produce some decent content.

So, what posts can you expect? Well, I am going to post two reviews this week, because I have a few to catch up on!

At the end of September, I attended an event as part of the local Manx Litfest – a storytelling of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I adored the show so much that I picked up the book as soon as I got home. I’m not even kidding. I had read the book just shy of ten years ago at school, but I wanted to read it again and form a second opinion. To that end, I am going to be sharing my thoughts with you about my re-reading of this book.

 

 

 

 

My second review of the week is going to be for a book I devoured in a matter of days. Muse of Nightmares – what a fabulous read this was! I could read both Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares all over again.

Don’t encourage me, seriously.

Naturally, I’ll conclude the week in the usual manner.

 

 

 

Instead, let’s talk about what I SHOULD be reading! I want to make more progress in reading both A Game of Thrones and Season of Storms this week. Preferably, I would like to finish SoS by Andrzej Sapkowski by the end of the week to keep momentum. A Game of Thrones is going to take longer – it’s a huge book. I’ll keep chipping away though!

 

What are you reading this week?

Reading List – November 2018

November’s Reading List is going to be a slightly unusual one. Why? Well, compared with previous months, there is going to be a distinct lack of books on it! Here me out.

For over a year now I have been planning out which books I am going to read on a monthly basis; sometimes I’ll be scheduling these a couple of months in advance. The system works, I’ll give it that. I haven’t missed a deadline for blog tours or other fixed commitments.

It’s just that sometimes, (but not always), it can feel stifling.

Don’t get me wrong. I love books and reading and that hasn’t changed, but I want to try allowing myself a little more flexibility. There are moments when it feels like I am running my hobby like a military operation. In October I read three books outside of my TBR as I had the time to do so; and do you know what I enjoyed most about that? Being able to pick anything I wanted. ANYTHING!!! The freedom felt amazing!

So, I want to try something different with my TBR this month. The idea is to set only a couple of books to read now. Then, I’ll allow myself to pick up what I want, when I want it, for the rest of the month! I’m hoping I’ll read more that way. If the speed I went through books this month is anything to go by, then I expect I will. Of course, I will keep you up to date via my weekly Sunday Summary posts.

So, which books am I committing to in November?

 

The Mansions of Murder – Paul Doherty

Mansions of Murder

Goodreads – The Mansions of Murder

Synopsis

A murdered priest, a missing body, stolen treasure: Brother Athelstan tackles his most challenging investigation to date.

October, 1381. Brother Athelstan is summoned to the church of St Benet’s in Queenhithe to investigate the murder of a priest. Parson Reynaud has been found stabbed to death inside his own locked church. Other disturbing discoveries include an empty coffin and a ransacked money chest. Who would commit murder inside a holy church? Who would spirit away a corpse the night before the funeral – and who would be brave enough to steal treasure belonging to the most feared gangleader in London?

Meanwhile, the death of one of Athelstan’s parishioners reveals a shocking secret. Could there be a connection to the murdered priest of St Benet’s?

Athelstan’s investigations will lure him into the dark and dangerous world of the gangmaster known as The Flesher, whose influence has a frighteningly long reach …

 

There is a particular reason I am setting myself the task of reading this book this month. That is, it’s been outstanding a review on Netgalley for around six months now. Oops! It’s the last book I have to read and review there. I don’t really use the service anymore – I can’t say I warmed to it. Before, I was quite adamant in saying I was going to delete my account once I had fulfilled my obligations, but I’ve changed my mind. Best to keep my options open, yes? I don’t see myself using Netgalley all that frequently going forward, however.

I had actually intended to read this book back in March, but didn’t get around to it. It also made it onto July’s TBR… but guess what? It’s still unread. Not for much longer.

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – A Game of Thrones

Synopsis

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall.

At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

 

I have been playing around with the idea of re-reading this series for so long, I think it’s time to bite the bullet and get on with it. I don’t need to tell fans out there that the last season of the TV show airs next year. That’s my target – I want to have re-read the books by then! It’s only just shy of around 5,000 pages… no sweat…

 

Source: Giphy

 

So, that is LITERALLY all I am including on the list! I have some other books in mind – ones I have only part read and another ARC that I am all-too-aware I have had for a few months now! Once caught up with these though, I’m as free as a bird!

Fellow bloggers, how do you manage your time? Does a TBR work for you? Do you find it helpful, or can it be restricting? I’m really interested in your thoughts. Obviously we all work in different ways and I am trying to work out what is best for me right now.

 

Book Review: The Hidden Face – S. C. Flynn

***I was kindly provided with a copy of The Hidden Face by the author in exchange for a review. All the opinions stated are my own***

Goodreads – The Hidden Face

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years the sun god, the Akhen, takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal murder of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a female warrior named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

The Hidden Face is an epic fantasy novel drenched in the atmosphere of the early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.

 

My Thoughts…

The Hidden Face is a new, promising fantasy series. In a land shaped by political conflict and the influence of a God, the setting of this novel is rich in history and warfare. The novel begins with a prophecy. Dayraven and Sunniva are tasked with protecting its secret; the timing and identity of the next Unmasking. It isn’t my favourite trope of the genre, but I can tell a lot of time and planning has gone into the development of the plot and the prophecy (past and present).

 

The prophecy in itself is unique, which does diversify it from many other books of its type.

 

There are a number of vastly different characters in The Hidden Face. They all have an interest in the prophecy in order to better their own personal positions. Each has been written well; every character’s motive is clear and their actions consistent with their current scenario. Many of these characters are only really emerging in this first book, but they still stand out as unique individuals. Furthermore, what makes them more interesting is that their history and relationships with one another turn out to be more complex than first meets the eye.

Whilst not an overly long read, I will admit that it took a little while for me to become absorbed in The Hidden Face. In order to understand current events, there is a degree of setting the scene and introducing the main players to the conflict. Once acquainted with these details I found making progress with the present storyline a lot easier.

In my opinion, I think the book would benefit from the world-building being interspersed within the narrative a little more. The early chapters of the book aren’t heavy reading, but chopping between places and characters frequently to set the scene stalls the action from getting going straightaway.

 

As I have said already though, once the story was set the action is gripping and fast-paced. I blitzed reading the rest of the book and enjoyed watching events unfold.

 

I really enjoyed the book and I think this series has a lot more to offer! A further two books are expected in the series, with the second book expected to be published mid next year.

 


About the Author…

S C Flynn was born in a small town in South West Western Australia. He has lived in Europe for a long time; first the United Kingdom, then Italy and currently Ireland, the home of his ancestors. He still speaks English with an Australian accent, and fluent Italian.

He reads everything, revises his writing obsessively and plays jazz. His wife Claudia shares his passions and always encourages him.

S C Flynn has written for as long as he can remember and has worked seriously towards becoming a writer for many years.

THE HIDDEN FACE (November 2017) is his second novel and the first in the Fifth Unmasking epic fantasy series.