Tag: bookblog

First Lines Friday – 01/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or on my TBR or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I decided to keep my options open and choose a book at random to feature. In today’s post, following a discussion I had with my friends, I’m featuring something completely different to the usual content on my blog. There is a book series that I’m considering trying, and the thing that’s most unusual about it is that the genre is not my cup of tea at all! He read a lot of my blog, you know that can mean only one thing… 

I’ve made it very clear in so many blog posts that romance is just not for me. And it’s not. However, I have been watching a popular TV series online that has got me invested in the storyline of this book. I have a friend who has also enjoyed some of the books as a result of the series, and my other friend is also going to give these a go in audiobook format, so I’m willing to give at least the first one a try too.

Have you guessed which book series I’m talking about? if not, today’s First Lines Friday intro might give you all the clues you need: –

 

The birth of Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset, Earl Clyvedon, was met with great celebration. Church bells rang for hours, champagne flowed freely through the gargantuan castle that the newborn would call home, and the entire village of Clyvedon quit work to partake of the feast and holiday ordered by the young earl’s father.

“This,“ the baker said to the blacksmith, “is no ordinary baby.“

For Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset would not spend his life as Earl Clyvedon. That was a courtesy title. Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset – the baby who possessed more names than any baby could possibly need – was the heir to one of England’s oldest and richest dukedoms. And his father, the ninth Duke of Hastings, had waited years for this moment.

As he stood in the hall outside his wife’s confinement room, cradling the squalling infant, the duke’s heart near burst with pride.

Already several years past forty, he had watched his cronies – dukes and earls, all – beget heir after heir. Some had had to suffer through a few daughters before siring a precious son, but in the end, they all been assured that the lines would continue, that their blood would pass forward into the next generation of England’s elite.

 

 

The Duke & I – Julia Quinn

Goodreads – The Duke and I

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule…

 

My Thoughts…

I don’t know if branching out to read The Duke and I will be a good experience or not. But, as somebody who is willing to be diverse in every other reading genre, it would be rude of me not to try. There’s often a lot of bad press about books that become popular and consequently don’t live up to the hype. And I get that. I experience that with fantasy books quite a lot. However, I’d argue there are instances where popularity can be of a benefit.

If not for having watched the Netflix series, I would never have dreamed of picking up this book. I’d only started watching that series after a number of recommendations and good reviews. Even then, I’d only really put it on to experiment with it – it was more background noise than anything. But there were elements that I quickly found I enjoyed and I’ve come to like the series. I’m currently watching the second series on Netflix, with just a couple of episodes left. I believe this one deviates from the events in the book, but that’s a possible discussion for another day depending on how I get on with this first one.

It might be good, it might be bad, and equally it might fall somewhere in the middle. I just don’t know. But whilst I’m interested in the story, having watched the series, I’m willing to give this a shot. I’m not going to know what I think until I give it a try. And having read today’s introduction in preparation for this post, and a little bit further on, I can see myself giving this a healthy shot. That’s not to say I’m going to become a romance reader overnight, because that’s not true either. If I do go on to like this, it will definitely be an exception as opposed to the rule.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read The Duke and I, or any of the books in the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn? Let me know what you think, especially if this particular series was out of your comfort zone and you picked it up anyway!

 

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Goodreads Book Tag

Welcome to my edition of the Goodreads Book Tag! I found this tag on Stephen Writer Blog and I thought it would be a lot of fun to do! It’s been a little while since I’ve shared this kind of post, and it’s a great way to learn a little bit more about me, how I read and how I operate my blog and all that business in general.

I hope you enjoy today’s post and either learn something from it, or even take something away.

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS READ?

The last book I finished and marked as complete on Goodreads is Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. This is an interesting one to kind of feature here in today’s post, because it’s not something I would describe as a typical read.

This was a recommendation from my sister, after it was recommended to her by a work colleague. It’s about women in the workplace… And in particular in leadership or more senior roles. It discusses various problems that women come up against throughout their careers, including barriers set by other people and themselves!

 

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

My current read is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! I last read this book at around the age of 17/18 – I distinctly remember I was doing my A-levels at the time, but I’m not sure which year. My gut instinct is my first year. I wanted to pick up this series again because I loved it as a teenager. In addition, I wanted to see how reading the series as an older and more widely read person to see if my opinion has changed over time.

The crux of it is no, it hasn’t. I’m still loving every minute of it. I have perhaps a slight preference bias towards the later books in the series. The storyline is more sophisticated and a bit darker, which leans away from being a middle grade/YA series in my opinion. Those aren’t genres I read much of.

 

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS TBR?

The most recent book on my TBR list is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. I’m actually going to be reading this book very shortly, as my sisters boyfriend Chris has loaned me a copy. That’s on March’s TBR, however as of sharing this post I haven’t quite got round to it yet. You can expect that to be carried over and read very soon!

 

WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO READ NEXT?

The above question answers this one as well, so I’ll expand a little bit to talk about the next couple books I plan on picking up after The Thursday Murder Club. In addition, I would also like to finish re-reading The Raven’s Mark trilogy. I read the first book on a complete whim last month and I have the urge to re-read the series now. They’re just so good, and the best news is that Ed McDonald has a new book being published in June this year.

I’ve also been watching the Lincoln Rhyme series on Now TV recently, which makes me want to pick up The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver.

 

DO YOU USE THE STAR RATING SYSTEM?

I do use a star rating system, although I’ll admit I’m a very emotional reviewer. I’m very flexible with it; I don’t have set criteria and I firmly believe that you cannot judge every book by the exact same rules. Every narrative is very different and you can’t possibly apply all categories to every book.

I tend to go by feeling more than anything. If I absolutely love a book and physically can’t put it down, then it’s going to get a better rating than one that was perfectly readable at the time, but also a bit forgettable. Obviously there’s going to be some significant differences between what makes a book okay and what makes it great, but I like not to constrain myself too much when deciding on a star rating based on these criteria.

1 STAR – honestly if I really feel a book is this bad, I haven’t finished it and therefore I won’t rate it.
2 STAR – also a very rare rating for me to give, as I’m very likely to have given up on this book before finishing it as well.
3 STAR – three star reads for me are ones that are ‘okay’. They may not have the best flow or engage me in the best way, but are still readable.
4 STAR – A four star rating would typically be given for a book that I really enjoyed, but maybe I had a slight niggle with it. Maybe I don’t quite like something in the plot, or characterisation could be a little bit better etc. Basically, it’s good, but it’s not quite perfect.
5 STAR – five star reads for me a ones that I either can’t find fault with, maybe have the smallest, tiniest little niggle. These are books that I love completely and would definitely re-read them again in a heartbeat!

 

ARE YOU DOING A 2022 READING CHALLENGE?

I am doing a Goodreads challenge this year! And I’m enjoying it too; I didn’t set myself a challenge last year and honestly I felt a little bit lost.

Goodreads challenges are great for motivation. At the moment I’m currently one book ahead of schedule, so I’m on track to read my target of 40 books this year. Even if you don’t necessarily set yourself an official challenge, it’s nice to have an end goal in my opinion.

 

DO YOU HAVE A WISHLIST?

Other than my TBR, no. Let’s face it, I want all the books! Well, not quite… but you know the kind of girl I am!

 

WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO BUY NEXT?

I don’t have a set book in mind, because I’m trying to read more of the books I already have and to work on reducing my reading list. I’m of the opinion that if I don’t put myself in a position of temptation, I can’t be tempted! It’s a simple as that!

As a more general goal, I am trying to collect some of the clothbound classics. This is a long-term goal, however. And, if prices of everything keep going up the way they are, then it’s going to be a loooooooonnnnnnggggggeeeeeerrrr  term goal.

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE QUOTES?

I mark all sorts of favourite quotes, and I really like Goodreads because it gives you the option to share them. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many I have recorded on there and the range of books I have them for years quite significant.

From classics to fantasy, no genre is safe from my highlighting! On my Kindle, of course! I wouldn’t do anything so sacrilegious as to physically mark a physical book. You can find these on my Goodreads profile with this link here

 

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHORS?

If I had to shortlist my favourite five authors, the list looks like this: –

  1. George R. R. Martin
  2. Brandon Sanderson
  3. Laini Taylor
  4. Ed McDonald
  5. Stephen King

A bit of an eclectic mix I know, but that is only testament to the variety of books I read!

 

HAVE YOU JOINED ANY GROUPS?

I don’t think so no. I used to be part of a Goodreads group, but I never read or contributed to it and so I think I left. I’m not part of any other group of any other kind (social media or in person).

I hope that you have learned a little bit about me in today’s Goodreads Book Tag post. I hope you enjoyed it and if you would like to take part in it yourself and consider yourself tagged! I’d love to see your answers so please link back to me so that I can take a look at your answers!

 

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Sunday Summary – 27th March 2022

Good evening and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update! I hope it’s been a good one?

I am pleased that I managed to pull my finger out and share my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this week. You may remember that I intended to share this post last week, however I struggled with drafting the post. If I’m honest I think I felt over-faced with reviewing such a large and popular book, but I put the effort in and I’m happy with the final result. I’m still not sure I’ve done it full justice, but I’ve done my best, and that’s all I can ask for!

Later in the week I shared a Shelf Control post. I didn’t massacre my reading list this week, unlike last time, and I really like the sound of this weeks featured book. I’m also pretty excited because it caught my mum‘s attention – this could be a series we both read and love!

 

Books Read

This week my reading progress has been okay, but also could be better. I’ve been reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I say progress has been okay as I haven’t read as much as previous weeks. In just a couple of nights I have read around 120 pages. It shouldn’t be sniffed at really, it’s still a reasonable amount of reading. 

I confess that a lot of my evening time this week has been spent binge-watching Lincoln Rhyme, The TV series (based on The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver) on Sky Witness. I watched the first episode of this ages ago, but I started watching it again this week and now I only have two episodes left. I’m probably going to watch those tonight too…

I’m going to be back on the reading next week and I’m sure I’m going to make a lot more progress with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

 

Books Discovered

It has now been several weeks since I added any books to my reading list. I’m still glad to see it’s back under 200 and I plan to keep it that way.

 

Coming Up…

At the beginning of this week I’m planning to share a fun post. It’s been a little while since I’ve shared a book tag post, and this week I am going to do the Goodreads Book Tag. This is one I haven’t completed before, and it looks like a fun post to share!

Friday is the turn of my regular First Lines Friday post. Last time I set myself a challenge to feature a book on this month’s TBR. I enjoyed the challenge last time, but I’ve decided for this week I’m going to keep it free of restrictions and choose a book at random.

And finally, this time next week I’ll be sharing another Sunday Summary update with you.

Until then, I hope you have a good week and I’ll see you in the next post!

 

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Shelf Control #45 – 25/03/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Shelf Control post for today! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on my blog (typically fortnightly on a Friday) and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

There was no dramatic purge of my reading list this week, and I’m excited to share today’s feature with you.

When I first saw and purchased a copy of this book I didn’t realise it was the fourth of a series! Given how exciting this book sounds, I have very high hopes for the earlier books in the series too! Shall we find out what it is?

 

Th1rt3en – Steve Cavanagh

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36217425-thirteen

The serial killer isn’t on trial.

He’s on the jury…

They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.

This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.

All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.

What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?

What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?

 

My Thoughts…

The synopsis of this book sounds brilliant, and there are obviously a lot of other people who agree with this! The book has several thousand reviews and a 4+ star rating. I’m willing to go with the consensus here and say that I’m going to enjoy this book.

It’s a courtroom legal thriller, which isn’t something I pick up a lot of… but for that reason I’m sure I’m going to enjoy it. I pride myself on the diversity of books that I pick up and whilst I’m not shy towards a crime thriller novel, this is going to be new for me. I can’t think of any books I’ve read in the past with a similar theme. The characters also sound intriguing in themselves, so I can only hope that they uplift this already tense and exciting story to the next level.

You know me though. I’m not going to be able to pick this up until I’ve read the first few books in the series.It’s just my thing. If it’s written that way, I’m of the view it’s meant to be read that way too. So, I’ll be picking up the first three books of the series before I get to Thirteen.

I’m excited already!

 

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

In today’s blog post I’m sharing my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s’ Stone, the first book of the series I’m just about to finish reading for the second time! I read this series originally as a teenager and I loved them then as much as I do now! It’s a series for just about anybody and if my reread has proven anything, is that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you pick these up. This first book of the series didn’t seem immature or childish even now. Yes, it’s a lot simpler than the later books in the series, but it’s still just as readable.

If you’re like me then you’re probably also asking yourself, how do you go about reviewing such an iconic book series? Your guess is as good as mine – I’m just going to muddle through as best I can. I know I won’t do it justice, but I can only do my best!

 

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

Goodreads – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

 

My Thoughts…

The thing is I love the most about these books is that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you start reading them. I grew up with these books, and I probably read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone either as a preteen or an early teenager. I read this book again for the first time since then last year. At around twice the age I was when I first read the book, I loved it just as much!

Whilst I would say the intended genre is probably young adult, at the same time it doesn’t feel pigeonholed there. There is so much to this series that there’s something in it for everybody! This very first book is comparatively lighthearted to the rest of the series. It’s a wonderful introduction to a vast and detailed magical world, providing fantasy readers with escapism and a life they would have loved to have lived as a child; to be quantified as special and sent off to a magical school of witchcraft and wizardry.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone is only a few hundred pages long. It’s an easy book to pick up and read because of the length, but also the way in which it’s written. The narrative style is very easily digestible. Personally, I think you could easily pick up and put down the book as you wish. It’s really easy to follow what’s going on and it’s honestly a pleasure to read. I read this book within a matter of days just by doing some bedtime reading. You don’t have to be an avid reader to get through this book very quickly!

I like the pacing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone. Being the first book in the series, there is a lot to take in. We have a lot of the setting of the scene, character and world building thrown into the mix. I find it just right so that even a younger audience could follow what is going on, but equally it’s not slow for more mature readers either. As well as all this, there’s a lot of magical excitement to keep our attention. From a plethora of spells to learn to the wonder of the everyday… such as chocolate frogs (which really do behave like frogs!); there is always something going on and keeping the action flowing in a fun way!

In my opinion, this book is the perfect introduction to the now famous series. It’s fun and exciting whilst also setting the scene for a much wider story. The story unfolds in ways that I didn’t take initially expect when I first started the books. But, I really enjoy that! If you haven’t read these yet then I honestly recommend you do. They are absolutely fantastic and they really are for absolutely anyone!

 

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Sunday Summary – 20th March 2022

Hello and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week! I hope it’s been a great one for you?

I originally intended to share a book with you at the beginning of this week for Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone by J. K. Rowling. And I started this post. However, I think I felt a little bit intimidated by the task. This is a fantastic book and series and I got stuck with how to begin. How do you even go about reviewing such a massive series? That’s something I’m going to have to figure out very quickly, because I still plan to share my review with you soon. Apologies it didn’t come when I said it was going to.

I did manage to draft and publish my First Lines Friday post this week. For that post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a book on this month’s TBR and I’m really happy with my choice. I picked up most of the books left on my TBR to gauge the opening lines and see which I thought was best/most interesting. For me, it was a clear winner! If you haven’t checked out that post yet you can do so with the link above, and let me know what you think of the introduction!

 

Books Read

I’m really happy with my reading progress since my last Sunday Summary update post. I had just over 130 pages remaining of Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall, and I said in my post that I was going to make a push this week to read it. The reality is, I started reading this book last Sunday after publishing my post and I finished reading the book at 12:15am that night! I could not put it down – the ending was brilliant and so engaging that going to bed before finishing this book was not an option! It’s an absolutely fantastic psychological thriller and I can’t wait to share my thoughts on the book with you – I cannot recommend it enough!

My next read of this week was a complete 180º – I picked up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. This is a non-fiction novel written by Facebook‘s chief operating officer. It looks at women in the workplace and discusses female leadership in the corporate world, what limitations women have in advancing their careers (both internal and external factors) and offers advice on what women can do in order to empower themselves.

This was a recommendation by my sister, who in turn had the book recommended to her by one of her more senior work colleagues. Now, I wouldn’t describe myself as a particularly career driven person, but I am the kind of person who will take on responsibility and accountability in my job. I want to do the best I can, and likewise if I can make things better for other people I also want to do this. Work isn’t my whole life, but I want to do a good job and make a difference as well. Do you see what I mean?

Lean In was an interesting read because it’s not only focuses on limitations that women experience from other people (both men and women, you may be surprised to hear), but also the limitations they set themselves. It is all too easy to focus on the external factors, and very difficult to be introspective and acknowledge that women sometimes hold themselves back. For not shying away from this truth, I feel like Sheryl took a well-rounded approach to the subject and there are some pieces of advice in the book that I’d like to bear in mind going forward for myself.

Whilst I haven’t physically picked it up yet as of writing this post, I plan to start reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows immediately after this blog post goes live. And I’ll be making progress with this one over the next week. Whilst it’s a bit of a chunky book, I find these so easy to read so I don’t expect it will take me too long!

As in last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I am pleased to say that I’ve listened to another couple of chapters of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. This is going to take a very long time to get through at this pace, so I’m going to try and make more of a habit of listening to audiobooks again. I confess I’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit here!

 

Books Discovered

There’s some happy dancing going on here this week, because once again there are no new books on my TBR. And, having read and taken a couple off the list this week, the list is going in the right direction!

For now anyway!

 

Coming Up…

I will share my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this week. I WILL share my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone next week.

How many times do you think I have to say the sentence in order to commit? I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to get this ready for you as planned this week, so I’m determined to publish this post in the next few days to make up for it.

Friday is my scheduled spot for a Shelf Control post. Last time I did this fortnightly feature I cut five books off my TBR. Whilst I am certainly not planning a ‘massacre’ of that scale again, I do like that this feature gives me the opportunity to review and do this if I feel necessary. It’s also great because I love featuring books that are coming up on my list and I can get excited about them at the same time!

And finally, this time next week I’ll be sharing another Sunday summary post.

Until then, I hope you have a good week, wish you happy reading and I’ll see you in the next post!

 

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First Lines Friday – 18/03/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or on my TBR or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I set myself the challenge to feature a book I’ve added to my TBR this month. I made the decision last week in an attempt to get my reading motivation back after a small slump and a DNF at the beginning of this month.

I’m really excited for today’s featured book. Having looked at almost all the books left on my TBR to date, the book I was going to feature it was a clear winner. I think it has the best introduction and has the best chance of grabbing your attention.

Shall we jump into it?

 

Levan Ost’s note insisted I come alone.

The clocks were poised to strike four as I approached the meeting point. The night carried a purpleish cast, Rioque and Clada both waxing, unobscured by clouds. I stepped briskly through the winter cold. Hooded. Armed. Alert. The last time I’d met Levan Ost, he tried to shank me with a broken bottle. But that had been a long time ago and, truth be told, I’d probably deserved it.

The smell of the canal met me three streets before it came into view. The waterway was blacker than oil, the streets around it mostly deserted. Nobody wanted to live near that stench. Valengrad’s canals had never been fit for swimming in, but after the Siege, we’d tossed all the dead drudge into the canals to rot. Bad magic isn’t so easily washed away though, and the pollutants had stained even the water. Four years later, it still bore the memory.

 

Ravencry – Ed McDonald

Ravencry

Goodreads – Ravencry

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.

RAVENCRY is the second book in the Raven’s Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy BLACKWING.

 

My Thoughts…

I loved reading Blackwing last month and I cannot wait to continue with the rest of the trilogy. Ravencry throws us back into yet more action, four years after the events of the first book.

The thing I love the most about these books is that no character is a hero, or even tries to be. Everybody is out for themselves and is by no means an altruist, but that makes it feel all the more real. That is definitely encapsulated in today’s introduction and if you really liked it, then these books will be great for you because it’s consistent throughout!

I love the magic and the setting of these books. There is a lot of thought that has got into the world building and the lore and there’s so much to love! Even though it is a fantasy world it is very easy to imagine and immerse yourself in. When I read Blackwing last month, it was the escapism I needed. I found it very easy to sit and read and read and read a bit more – it was effortless!

If you need any further testament to how great this series is, I gifted a copy of this trilogy to my sister’s boyfriend for Christmas. He’d read the lot by about the third week in January!

Have you read Ravencry or any other books in the trilogy? Does today’s First Lines Friday feature make you want to pick it up for yourself? 

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Sunday Summary – 13th March 2022

Hello and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update! As always I hope you’ve had a good week whatever you have been up to?

My blogging week began on Tuesday with a Top Ten Tuesday post. In that post I featured books with my favourite book trope or theme. My chosen trope, as a big reader of fantasy books, was prophecies. Although this is very common in the genre I found that a lot of the books I’ve read are actually part of a series. So, although it feels like I’ve read a lot of them, I actually struggled to come up with 10 completely separate books/series for this post. I managed it though, and if you haven’t checked out that post already there’s a link here so you can go and take a look.

On Friday I shared a Shelf Control post. In this fortnightly series I take a look at the next book on my TBR and share some details of the book, as well as discuss why I want to read it. I was a bit brutal going through my list this week, because I ended up deleting five books off my TBR before I got to this week’s chosen feature. I’m not complaining, because I already have a lot of books on my list. If I’m not feeling it, there are plenty more out there and there is no sense in keeping them on the list!

 

Books Read

Reading progress has been a touch slower this week. I’ve been doing some other bits and pieces; I’m working on knitting a jumper at the moment and I feel like I’ve been stuck in a very similar spot for a while. So, I’ve been making the effort to try and knit at least three or four rows a day and I’m starting to see some reward from the effort! That might not sound like much, but when you’re knitting with sock weight yarn and you are a plus size girl, that’s a lot of stitches per round (360 – I checked).

I’ve also started some study for work. Along the same lines, I’ve been doing a little bit a day and because of this I’ve got myself through the first couple of chapters already. I’m really happy with my progress, so I’m going to be carrying on in much the same way.

Despite all these little extras I’m doing every day, I still managed to read about 100 pages of Keep You Safe by Rona Halsall. It’s a really interesting book and I’m liking where it’s going so far. The timeline flits between present day and the past, and the two seem to be paced quite well in that they tie together nicely.

I’m still not sure on who I’m rooting for in terms of the protagonist or the supposed antagonist. I say supposed to because I’m not sure I trust the perspective of Natalie, which is another thing I’m enjoying. I’m constantly second guessing her and trying to work out what the truth is. It’s one of those narratives where there are three sides of the story, hers, his and the truth. I can’t wait to carry on reading and unpick the rest of this story. The book is just about 330 pages long and I’m coming up to 200 now. I’m going to make a push and try and finish it next week!

I have also been listening to more of A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin this week, and I’ve got another couple of chapters under my belt.

Having considered my position this week, I’ve decided to DNF One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey. It’s just not doing it for me, and mentally I went into the beginning of this week wanting to try and pick this up again. However, I just can’t bring myself to do it,. It hasn’t drawn me in and I don’t want to spend my time trying to force myself through it. I read to enjoy myself and I’m not really enjoying this book. So, this is officially my first DNF of 2022.

 

Books Discovered

As I stated at the beginning of this post, my TBR has actually gone down this week! I’ve taken five books off the list and I haven’t added anything either, which is a miracle!

 

Coming Up…

This week I would like to share a book review with you. I am trying to make my way through my ongoing list of books to be reviewed and I’d like to chip away at this list. So, with that in mind, this week I am going to be reviewing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It’s saying something when you are starting to review a series that you’re just about to finish reading, and it’s seven books long!

Next week’s Friday feature will be a First Lines Friday post. For this post I am setting myself another challenge, and it’s one that I haven’t done before. For this post, I’m going to be featuring the opening lines of a book on this month’s TBR! My reading progress has been a little bit slow this week, so I’m hoping that preparing this post will psych me up and help me find the motivation to get to some of the later books on my list. We’re already nearly midway through March and I’m still only on my second book on my list!

Last, but not least, I’ll be back the same time next week for another Sunday Summary post!

Until then, I hope you have a good week and I’ll see you in the next one!

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Shelf Control #44 – 11/03/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a fortnightly feature here on my blog and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it.

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

After knocking 5 books off my TBR, I decided today’s feature is a fantasy novel I clapped eyes on back in 2017; it caught my attention immediately! The author is new to me, but I read some fantastic reviews not long after publication and so I knew I wanted to give it a shot.

So, do you want to find out what today’s book is?

 

A Plague of Giants – Kevin Hearne

Goodreads – A Plague of Giants

MOTHER AND WARRIOR

Tallynd is a soldier who has already survived her toughest battle: losing her husband. But now she finds herself on the front lines of an invasion of giants, intent on wiping out the entire kingdom, including Tallynd’s two sons—all that she has left. The stakes have never been higher. If Tallynd fails, her boys may never become men.

SCHOLAR AND SPY

Dervan is a historian who longs for a simple, quiet life. But he’s drawn into intrigue when he’s hired to record the tales of a mysterious bard who may be a spy or even an assassin for a rival kingdom. As the bard shares his fantastical stories, Dervan makes a shocking discovery: He may have a connection to the tales, one that will bring his own secrets to light.

REBEL AND HERO

Abhi’s family have always been hunters, but Abhi wants to choose a different life for himself. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Abhi soon learns that his destiny is far greater than he imagined: a powerful new magic thrust upon him may hold the key to defeating the giants once and for all—if it doesn’t destroy him first.

Set in a magical world of terror and wonder, this novel is a deeply felt epic of courage and war, in which the fates of these characters intertwine—and where ordinary people become heroes, and their lives become legend.

 

My Thoughts…

Highly rated epic fantasy books will always end up on my TBR if my attention is brought to them. I remember seeing quite a few posts about this book around the time it was published in 2017. However, it’s the review of a trusted blogger that persuaded me to add this to my TBR. I’ve linked that review below so you can check it out for yourself. I trust Drew‘s opinion on books as I think we have similar taste!

https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/a-plague-of-giants-seven-kennings-1-by-kevin-hearne-book-review/

I am a sucker for fantasy and the fact that it’s written by an author I haven’t read before doesn’t scare me off. I am always looking to try new authors and potentially find a new favourite. George RR Martin and Brandon Sanderson will take some knocking off the pedestal, but I won’t rule out that someone could do it!

I like the diversity of the characters alluded to in the synopsis. There’s going to be somebody for everyone to root for, depending on what attributes you like in people. As a reader I also like to interpret a narrative from different perspectives. You know how much I love A Game of Thrones; that tale has chapters written from 20+ characters in the books to date. I appreciate the scope on A Game of Thrones is a much larger than this book, but I’m still excited for the principal all the same! They’re always going to be characters you like more than others and I’m interested to see who falls into what category here!

Did you enjoy today’s Shelf Control feature? Have you read A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne, or anything like it? Let me know in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books With Your Favorite Trope/Theme

The theme of today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is Books With Your Favorite Trope/Theme. The theme I have chosen for today’s post is prophecies. It’s a heavily used trope in fantasy, but it’s one that I enjoy going back to again and again! That will become apparent by the number of books that I’ve been able to share on this list today.

I’m not a big fan of fantasy books that regurgitate the same tropes again and again (and often use multiple at the same time). Books like that just feel like you’re reading the same thing all the time. However, prophecies is the one thing that I don’t get sick off, especially if they are pulled off cleverly.

If you are also a fan of fantasy books that revolve around prophecies then this post is for you! Perhaps you have read the books on this list already. Alternatively, you may have just found some recommendations! So, without further ado, let’s go through my top ten books: –

 

Harry Potter series

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

 

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives series)

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.

 

A Game of Thrones series

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.

 

Lord of the Rings series

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

 

Wizard’s First Rule (The Sword of Truth series)

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher’s forest sanctuary seeking help . . . and more.

His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence. In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them—for reasons Richard can’t imagine and Kahlan dare not say.

In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword—to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed . . . or that their time has run out.

This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

 

Mistborn series

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Then Kelsier reveals his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets. She will have to learn trust if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy’s newest master tale-spinner and author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the prophesied hero failed to defeat the Dark Lord? The answer will be found in the Misborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises that begins with the book in your hands. Fantasy will never be the same again.

 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Narnia… the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.

 

Dune

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…

When House Atreides is betrayed, the destruction of Paul’s family will set the boy on a journey toward a destiny greater than he could ever have imagined. And as he evolves into the mysterious man known as Muad’Dib, he will bring to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.

 

The Painted Man (the Demon Cycle series)

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

 

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time series)

the eye of the world

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.

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.

When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs-a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts- five villagers flee that night into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light.

 

So, those are my top ten books featuring prophecies! Have you read any of these books? Or have you now added any to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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