In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag lives a totalitarian life. The government says books are dangerous… and dangerous they are. They provoke thought and opinion, encourage individuality and ideas. They must be burned. Montag is a fireman, charged with the destruction of the prohibited material. But curiosity gets the better of him, and he finds himself on the path to his own destruction…
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
Can you really imagine a world without books? As a source of entertainment and knowledge, they are one of the most precious things to me! In Fahrenheit 451 literature is publicly spurned for its contradictory nature; the uncertainty and the confusion it causes is blamed for the unhappiness in the world. (Of course, living a life in which you are stifled of all opinion and individuality has NOTHING to do with it…)
Then, one day, a young girl walks into Guy Montag’s life. She starts to question him, his life and the world they live in. She plants a seed. He was so sure of what he was doing… what role he had in society, now he isn’t. So, he seeks the truth and turns his attention to those materials he is entrusted to destroy for answers.
Being sat on the other side of the fence to this dystopian novel, it is easy to criticise Montag for just accepting what he is told and not thinking for himself. We are used to having an opinion and the freedom to express it. Ask my work colleagues, they’ll tell you I’m one of the most opinionated people on the planet. Consider never having that choice; imagine growing up to be told something just is and you never question it.
They walked still further and the girl said, “Is it true that long ago firemen put fires out instead of going to start them?”
“No. Houses have always been fireproof, take my word for it.”
As a book-lover, I can’t help but champion Montag’s awakening. His transition from a brainwashed man who knows what he is told to one who can think for himself is liberating. It’s a change we often see in dystopian novels, but somehow it’s still refreshing every single time. Knowledge is a powerful force against tyranny, and reading of Montag’s rebellion sparks a small fire in all of us.
Would we do the same in his shoes? I hope I never have to find out.
I saw this tag over at The Book Prescription and it looked like so much fun! I love books and I love coffee, although if you make one like this first mug in the picture, I’ll sacrifice you to the Gods for ruining a potentially good cup of coffee…
1. Black Coffee | Name A Series That’s Tough To Get Into But Has Hardcore Fans
I’d probably only say this series is tough to get into if you ignore the fact that the TV series popularised the whole thing. I’m purely considering this from a book perspective. Each book is long, epic in its volume of characters and established families that geographically span two large continents. Each continent has many cities or kingdoms with their own history, customs and cultures.
You get the drill. The Song of Ice and Fire series is not for the fainthearted… that’s for sure!
2. Peppermint Mocha | Name A Book That Gets More Popular During the Winter or A Festive Time of Year
This is one I haven’t actually read yet, but I have intended to for the past couple of Christmases. Maybe this year!
3. Hot Chocolate | What Is Your Favourite Children’s Book
I was actually shocked to find out this was even targeted at children, but it is. I only read this last year personally.
4. Double Shot of Espresso | Name A Book That Kept You On the Edge Of Your Seat From Start to Finish
I read The Silent Patient last year – in less than 24hrs. That’s how much I was on the edge of my seat. I can’t remember the last time I read so fast!
5. Starbucks | Name A Book You See Everywhere
This is one I haven’t read but am seriously considering picking up next month. Does anyone recommend?
6. The Hipster Coffee Shop | Give A Book By An Indie Author A Shout Out
I have worked with so many indie authors that it wouldn’t be fair to single one out over the others. You are all fantastic guys!
7. Oops! I Accidentally Ordered Decaf | Name A Book You Were Expecting More Of
So many people have raved about American Gods by Neil Gaiman, but I just didn’t get it. I stuck with it but struggled. Some suggest reading it twice, but I don’t think I’ll enjoy it again, so I won’t.
8. The Perfect Blend | Name A Book Or Series That Was Both Bitter And Sweet, But Ultimately Satisfying
The only book I can think to put in this category is The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Obviously, the bitterness comes from the harsh reality that Lale and Gita had to endure – it’s a telling based on a true account as well. The sweetness lies in the relationship that they maintained. They survived for each other.
9. Green Tea | Name A Book Or Series That Is Quietly Beautiful
I wouldn’t say I am much of a reader of YA but this duology blew me away. I want my own Lazlo!
10. Chai Tea | Name a Book Or Place Series That Makes You Dream Of Far Off Places
I’m not particularly travel ambitious; I’ll be the first person to admit this is a hard question for me to answer. Since reading The Song of Ice and Fire series (and consequently watching it – more weight is leant to this side of things), I have wanted to visit Dubrovnik, the set of King’s Landing. I was hoping to go last year, but alas, travel plans with friends fell through. Maybe in future!
11. Earl Grey | Name Your Favourite Classic
It’s funny – each and every book I considered for this accolade has previously been on the “I hated this” pile. Isn’t maturity the strangest thing? I found it hard to pick this one. It was ultimately a tossup between 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale, but I think The Handmaid’s Tale just gets it.
I’m not going to tag anyone in this post in case you have already been nominated by someone else! If you would like to take part though, then TAG!! I want to see your answers!
Doesn’t the weekend roll around so fast? One minute it’s Friday and I’m celebrating freedom for a couple of days. The next minute, I’m sat here with a cup of coffee, writing my Sunday Summary! Can three-day weekends PLEASE be a thing? I’d get more reading done that way.
Have you had a busy week? I sure did! My first post of the week was also my first Blog Tour for the year. I began reading The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire in December, quite early on. However, after an unanticipated event my blogging schedule went out of the window. I picked up my reading again in the New Year and made sure this was well read in time for the tour. If you haven’t seen my post yet, you can read my review of The Road to Alexander using the link provided.
Later on in the week I tackled the onerous task of choosing which books made the Top Ten in 2018. I was doing some background work for that post when I discovered Goodreads hadn’t included 4 books towards my reading challenge. So, it turns out I actually read 50 books in 2018! That’s a lot better than I anticipated! Choosing my Top Ten Reads of 2018 was just as hard as I thought it was going to be… but I did it!
I’ve done as well as I expected on the reading front this week. In last week’s Sunday Summary post I set myself a reading target of 75% progress with A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. I’m currently at 71% as we speak, but as I’ll be reading before I go to bed I fully expect to surpass that.
I wanted to make good progress with A Clash of Kings this week as I have a few blog tours coming up. I’m going to have to almost set it aside for now, as I have two books to read for a blog tour next month. If I manage to read those quickly then I’ll be in good stead to try to finish this book for the end of the month. That’s the aim, but we’ll see how that works out in practice.
I have added two books to the TBR this week – The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg and Age of Assassins by R. J. Barker.
I’ve made myself a pledge to try and borrow more books from the library this year. I am in the habit of just buying what I want, which kind of defeats the object of being a member of a library! So, I was good. I haven’t bought these two. It may also have something to do with it being the last week of January before pay day and I am skint… but my point stands. I need to borrow books instead of just buying them outright!
As I mentioned above, I am temporarily setting aside A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin; I have two books for an upcoming blog tour to read. This week, I’ll be reading You Can’t Make Old Friends and Choose Your Parents Wisely by Tom Trott. My aim is to have finished the first book of the series and be at least half way through the second by this time next week.
Whilst reading other people’s blogs this week I came across The Book Prescription’s Coffee Book Tag and I thought would be fun to do. I love books and I love coffee, so I am all up for this tag haha!
Later on in the week, I’ll be reviewing a classic I read towards the end of the year – Fahrenheit451. I cannot imagine a world without books and that is exactly the premise of this tale. The book had been on my reading list for a while; after getting a little reward from work, I decided to use it to get myself a copy. Fahrenheit 451 is a book I’ll keep and re-read again and again, so I am glad I own this one. I can’t wait to share my views with you all.
I am going to start a new feature from next week in my Sunday Summary posts. I’m incredibly hit and miss with reading other blogs (sorry!). So, in order to recognise other bloggers great posts and to make sure I read them, I’ll be linking some favourite posts of the week from other bloggers that I think you might enjoy. I hope you do!
That’s all from me for now folks – wishing you a good week filled with great books! Happy reading!
Narrowing down a list of Top Ten Reads in 2018 was always going to be hard. How can you pick favourites?! It’s like asking a mother to pick a favourite child!
When I was getting a list together of the books I read in 2018 in order to make my choices, I made two discoveries: –
Goodreads hadn’t credited me for 4 books read, so I actually managed to read 50 books in 2018 instead of 46
Of those 50 books, I rated nearly half 5* ; only 7 books got a rating of 3* or less
Boy, don’t I make my life difficult…
It’s been tough and I’ve had to be brutal. I read a lot of amazing books in 2018 (as you would guess based on my VERY high ratings), but I had to narrow it down to 10. So, here are my Top Ten Reads of 2018! Where I have reviewed the book on my blog, links to my review posts can be followed by clicking on the images.
Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor
*** I kindly received a free copy of The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire for the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. All the opinions stated in my review are honest and my own***
The Road to Alexander has opened up a whole new historical period to love. The narrative is rich in detail and gives a lot of insight into the culture and lifestyle of the time. Not only that, if you don’t know very much about the Greek gods, you’re in for an enjoyable education too!
The year is 2089, and time-travelling journalist Ashley Riveraine gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview her childhood hero, Alexander the Great. She expects to come out with an award-winning article, but doesn’t count on Fate intervening.
Alexander mistakes Ashley for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. Being stuck 3000 years in the past with the man of her dreams wouldn’t be so bad if the scientists of the Time Institute hadn’t threatened to erase Ashley from existence if she changes history.
Ashley must now walk a tightrope, caught up in the cataclysmic events of the time, knowing what the future holds for the people she comes to love but powerless to do anything to influence it.
Join Ashley on her hilarious, bumpy journey into the past as she discovers where her place in history truly is…
Avid followers of my blog will know that historical fiction books are a guilty pleasure of mine. Take me back to Tudor England, either of the Great World Wars or the Viking invasion of Britain and I am a happy lass. Occasionally though, I branch out of the usual time periods and find a real gem.
I really like the recurring element of science-fiction in The Road To Alexander. To date, I haven’t found a crossover like it. Historical fiction that even includes time travel gives it the curtest nod before moving on swiftly and forgetting it ever happened. Ashley is a modern woman and time travel isn’t unusual to her. She trained for the very opportunity of a lifetime, so she knows everything about it. Well after the time travel event itself Ashley experiences medical symptoms/complications that remind us of her situation. She is paranoid about altering history. If she does, she has been told she be erased and will never meet Alexander.
Depending on your work environment, colleagues etc, there are sections of the narrative that feel very NSFW. As a personal preference, I don’t really enjoy reading too much detail when it comes to sex and nudity. There is a lot of sex in the book. To give you an idea of what it’s like, I can only describe it like this:
The first time, Ashley and Alexander are like desperate hormonal teenagers. No detail is spared. It doesn’t take too long for it to get to the kind of sex you could expect five years into a marriage – a brief encounter and promptly forgotten.
When we first meet Ashley, she is a very cold person. Her excitement to meet her childhood hero is limited to the acclaim she expects when she gets back to 2089 to write about Alexander the Great. She has a hard upbringing and is driven by success, but I love that we get to see this ice queen thaw as she adapts to her new way of life. She blossoms from an unpleasant, career-driven young lady (well, I didn’t like her much anyway) into a woman that would do anything to save another person. It’s also quite funny watching someone who doesn’t have a clue how to adapt. After Ashley discovers that she is stuck in the past, there is a great deal of humour as she tries to wriggle out of difficult situations!
As an amateur to the history inspiring the book, I can’t attest to the historical accuracy of it. Only an expert could tell you that. What the expert couldn’t tell you though, is how well this book “sells” the historical period to the person that hasn’t really come across it before. A person like me. Sure, I’ve HEARD of Alexander the Great. Could I have told you before what he had done to earn the name? Not at all. Do I want to finish the series and find out? Hell yes!
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Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories
Sunday Summary posts are a great way to look back to review my progress of the week gone and plan the week(s) ahead. These posts are great for me – they keep me sane and generally are my most viewed posts. Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read these. I really do appreciate it! It feels like the hard work pays off when you get a lovely notification like this:
Last week’s Sunday Summary post proved invaluable for planning my time for this week. As I briefly mentioned in that post, I was being sent to London for work. My trip was on Tuesday; avid followers of my blog will know that I regularly post on that day. That is, in part, why I opted to bring you a Can’t Wait Wednesday post. It was quite brief and easy to write, plus, I didn’t have the opportunity to prepare any content on Monday evening or all of Tuesday. I actually quite enjoyed preparing a list of 2019 releases I can’t wait to read. See, there is the organisation element again! Haha! Maybe I’ll write another of those posts in future. For now though, here is a picture of the Tower of London I managed to snap on my travels.
With things relatively back to normal I got around to finishing a Down the TBR Hole post that I started in December. I decided my posts with ten books on them were getting quite lengthy. I figured writing future posts with half as many books will make the task more approachable on my side as well as more readable for you guys. What do you think? Do you have a preference for longer or shorter posts?
I’m quite impressed with my page count this week guys! I had no excuse not to do well on this though, because I had A LOT of reading time on Tuesday after my meeting. Across the two books above, I have read around 430 pages (estimate based on percentages and no. Of pages quoted on Goodreads).
I started Black Matter last week and truth be told, it didn’t really take me all that long to finish it. It only took me a couple of evenings to enjoy this book before reaching the end. The narrative was really approachable and easy to read. Combine that with an interesting plot line and you have a winner. I really enjoyed reading Black Matter and I hope you will like my upcoming review.
A Clash of Kings has been my main reading fodder for the week. I took this book away with me for the trip on Tuesday because;
I love it and would never get bored of it
It’s damn long and I had lots of time to kill
I’ve already managed to ingest a 32% of the book. Taking its size into account, I think that’s pretty damn decent. At this pace I might actually finish this month’s reading list a little early…
Following my Can’t Wait Wednesday post, I have added a number of the books I discuss in that post to my list. Most of these books aren’t published for a few months yet, so I have breathing room to whittle off a few others from the TBR before I get around to them.
The first tour date of my blog tour blitz begins on Tuesday with my review of The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire. I started reading this book in December in the hope of getting ahead. Sure, things went a little to pot, but I’ve made the time back and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all!
As we have firmly drawn 2018 to a close now, I am going to attempt to write a post about my Top Ten reads of 2018. I make no promises about being able to stick to ten though, if I’m honest. Choosing is just difficult, okay? Nevertheless, I’ll try.
By way of reading progress, I want to make as much headway as I can in A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. I have already managed to read a third of the book this week; if I can get my progress up to near 70-75% I will be one happy lady.
Eight years apart in age, John F. and Robert F. Kennedy were wildly different in temperament and sensibility. Jack was the leader — charismatic, ironic, capable of extraordinary growth and reach, yet also reckless. Bobby was the fearless, hardworking Boy Scout — unafraid of dirty work and ruthless about protecting his brother and destroying their enemies. Jack, it was said, was the first Irish Brahman, Bobby the last Irish Puritan.
As Richard D. Mahoney demonstrates with brilliant clarity in this impeccably documented, magisterial book, the Kennedys lived their days of power in dangerous, trackless territory. The revolution in Cuba had created a poisonous cauldron of conflicting interests. As attorney general, Bobby was determined to bring down Castro and the Mafia; it was during this mission that the very forces of crime he was trying to eradicate came into play.
The Mafia, and in particular the murderous and charming Johnny Rosselli, had been enlisted by the CIA to eliminate Castro. Bobby may have spearheaded an anti-Mafia crusade, but Joe and Jack had courted the mob during the 1960 presidential race. Blackmail and double-dealing were the order of the day. Achieving power meant compromising the best and brightest of ideals and entering into a Faustian bargain — as Bobby Kennedy discovered on November 22, 1963.
Mahoney gives us the Kennedy days and years as we have never before seen them. Here are Jack and Bobby in all their hubris and humanity, youthfulness and fatalism. Here, also, is American history as it unfolds. The Kennedy Brothers is a fresh and masterful account of two men whose legacy continues to hold the American imagination.
There is very much a historical theme to this post; I must have been in the mindset that I wanted to learn a lot more. I l already have an e-copy of this book, so I am definitely going to read it. The presidency of the US has never been a subject I have taken an interest in before, so reading this will be a new experience for me. In the past I have enjoyed something similar, however, focussing on a diplomatic visit to the USA by Nikita Khrushchev. The thought of a grown man having a tantrum because he can’t go to Disney World still makes me giggle now and then.
Crown and Country: A History of England Through the Monarchy
David Starkey looks at the monarchy as a whole, charting its history from Roman times, to the Wars of the Roses, the chaos of the Civil War, the fall of Charles I and Cromwell’s emergence as Lord Protector – all the way up until the Victorian era when Britain’s monarchs came face-to-face with modernity.
Book two in my apparent history crusade explores different tides – the British monarchy. Considering I am TECHNICALLY British (as Manx isn’t an official nationality), my knowledge of the monarchy is terrible. I spent my time in school learning about the world wars and the financial boom/depression of the US. The rulers of our country, past and present, are hardly touched upon. Isn’t that a little embarrassing? I’m rectifying that mistake by keeping this book on the list.
Merchants of Virtue (The Huguenot Connection trilogy Book 1)
MERCHANTS OF VIRTUE follows a rich merchant family during of the repeal of religious tolerance by Louis XIV.
France 1685, Protestants fear for their lives following Louis the Greats revocation of their rights. Jeanne Delpech returns from her chateau to the Quercy capital to find her townhouse overrun by mercenary soldiers. The Sun Kings dragoons are given carte blanche to rob, beat, and commit atrocities to force Huguenots (French Protestants) to abjure their religion. Can Jeanne keep her children and her unborn baby without forsaking her faith?
A true story rich in historical detail, fast-moving action and powerful emotion.
I seem to be covering history from all angles here, as this book explores history and religion. When I first discovered this book I knew I had to read it. I came across it, courtesy of my Bookbub daily email with book deals on it and fell in love with the synopsis straightaway!
Three thousand years ago the world fell into darkness, when the great black mouth of the Rot ravaged the land. Across the glorious library city of Aradabar its dark tongues hammered down, leveling the glass towers of learning and entombing the bookyards in a thick blanket of lava. Only a single child survived the devastation; an infant with a prophecy carved into his skin, promising the rise of a hero powerful enough to slay the Rot for good.
Now that child is a young man, beginning to question the meaning of his many scars…
Now those scars are hunted by a jealous King, ruler of a brutal industrial city, where a thousand bizarre castes toil away like slaves…
Now a dark beast is watching, an Unforgiven, seeking to fulfill a promise made long ago…
And now the Rot has returned, its great black mouth gaping large in the sky, bringing chaos and fear to a world where no heroes endure…
I actually saw this book on Bookbub again only a couple of days ago. The cover caught my eye because I recognized it! At least my TBR isn’t a complete blur in my mind!
I can’t resist a little Fantasy. Sure, it’s a bit cliché with its prophesied child hero and all that jazz, but it has good reviews and I’m in a good mood! It stays!
England in 1572 is a powder keg of rumour, fanaticism, treachery and dissent. All it would take is a single spark . . .
In the England of Elizabeth I, the fear of plague and invasion, and the threat of insurrection are constant. As the Earl of Leicester’s chief intelligencer, lawyer Dr Christopher Radcliff is tasked with investigating rumours of treachery at home and the papist threat from abroad. And with heresy and religious unrest simmering beneath the surface of a country on the brink, Radcliff is under pressure to get results.
Then two brutal and seemingly motiveless killings point alert Radcliff to the whisper of a new plot against the queen. There are few clues, and all he and his network of agents have to go on is a single word: incendium. But what does it mean – and who lies behind it? Christopher Radcliff must find out before it’s too late . . .
(Please note: The Incendium Plot was first published in hardback as Incendium)
This Down the TBR Hole post focuses on a number of historical fiction, but if there is one slightly different to the others… it’s this one.
The period The Incendium Plot is based on is more recent than my usual reads. Usually, I go for the Tudor period or even earlier to the Viking invasion of Britain. I know a little of the history of this event already, so I’m excited to see how the book portrays it all!
Okay, so it appears I’m not getting rid of any books on this occasion. Sometimes that annoys me, (it is the point of the post after all), but equally I suppose I can be assured that the books on my TBR are of genuine interest.
Have you reviewed your TBR recently, or just added to it?
As it is a brand New Year, (okay, so we are over a week in… who cares?) I want to share with you some of the books I am really looking forward to reading this year! Usually, this is a weekly post, but I’m only really writing this as a one-off. Maybe I’ll pick it up more regularly in the future if it proves popular, so if you want to see it again, you need to let me know!
This series began as “Waiting On Wednesday” and hosted at Breaking the Spine. However, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted at Wishful Endings.
So, which three 2019 releases am I looking forward to reading?
I really enjoyed reading Children of Blood & Bone last year. I love the magical elements of the book, in addition to its focus on ethnicity and oppression. It’s done in such a tasteful but poignant way. I would love the opportunity to read more books like this one!
I have listened to the first book of the series on Audible and I am part way through the second book. The world-building and history behind the main storyline are fantastic. These little details are dropped into the storyline that they don’t hinder the main action; if anything, they enhance it. If Book 3 is as good as Books 1&2, I don’t want the series to end!
The first time I read The Handmaid’s Tale, I wasn’t enamoured. I was young then (says my sagely 23 y/o self), but the second time I read it, I loved it! I have also come to really enjoy the recent TV show. I’m glad the book isn’t connected to that show. As similar as they are, the TV show is a close but modernised adaptation… not a dramatisation of the book. I also think the title is apt and I love the nod it gives to the Bible. It is in His name that society justifies the oppression of women, after all. I always wondered what happened to Offred. I never imagined it was anything good; now I get to find out!
Unconfimed Future Releases
I want to mention a couple of other books I am looking forward to, but these neither have expected release dates, nor do I expect one soon.
I am completely in love with the Song of Ice and Fire series. It’s one I will pick up again and again throughout my lifetime. I currently have e-book versions of the series, but eventually, I want to invest in physical copies. I am currently re-reading the series (A Clash of Kings at the moment) as the final season is on television this year! At last! I’m both excited and sad at the same time!
This is another one of the best fantasy book series of all time. My favourite thing about them is the narration. I love the idea that cocky Kvothe gets brought down a peg or two by his experience and how unapologetic he is for that. We all make mistakes. It’s more fun to read someone else’s though!
When will these last two books be released? Does it matter when? No, not really. It makes me angry when I read “negative reviews” of a book which basically consist of people complaining about the wait for them to be published. Why do that? If you have loved a book series so much to follow it this far, then surely the next book is worth the wait!
Would you not feel cheated if an author gave into pressure and published a book earlier than planned and it didn’t live up to expectation? I sure would! I, for one, am more than happy to settle down and discover a few more new authors or start another series in the meantime. Irrespective of how much noise you make, the books will be ready when they are ready.
So go sit down with a cup of tea and read something else. Good things come to those who wait.
Doesn’t the weekend, and the end of it, roll around all too quickly! The first week of the New Year is over… has anyone broken their resolutions yet?
I wrote about my New Year’s Resolutions earlier this week, as well as giving details of this month’s planned reading list. If you haven’t checked that out already, it would be really awesome if you do! I’d also like to know what resolutions you have set yourself! In addition to the resolutions on my post, I am also making a conscious effort to read more bookish blogs. I’ve fallen out of the habit, but even if I only take 20 minutes out of my day, that’s more than I am doing now. I have already read some fun, interesting resolutions posts; the best of luck to everyone in achieving your goals!
I have also written my first review of the year this week. It’s a review that I feel is overdue as I finished the book at the end of October last year. Unfortunately, I committed myself to a lot of blog tours in November. That’s why I have only gotten around to reviewing The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich now. This is the second book I have reviewed of hers, the first being Copper Sky. It was lovely that she contacted me to tell me what a pleasant surprise it was to see my thoughts on the book.
So, what have I been reading this week?
It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to lend a mention to three books in this section! Maybe all this New Year, new me lark does mean something after all. No harm in a fresh start. My first mention is going to be brief though – in last week’s Sunday Summary post I promised to finish The Cathedral of Known Things before bed… and I did.
The majority of my reading time this week has been invested in The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire. I had started the book in December but forgot to add it to my Goodreads and update my progress. So, on the 1st of January when I wrote my reading list, I confidently updated my progress without checking because I was convinced I was 46% through the book. Turns out, I had only read 31%. I had a bit more reading to do than I thought, but never mind. I still managed to finish the book on Friday night, so I’m happy.
This weekend, I have been reading Black Matter by G. D. Parker. I am reviewing the book later this month as part of the organised blog tour. I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure where the plot was going when I first started this book. The synopsis is quite vague in detail, but now I am hooked. I read the first 40% in one sitting and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the narrative unravels.
After kicking myself back into the blog reading action, I stumbled across a review for Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett. I am an awful person because after telling myself a HUNDRED times to save where the book recommendations come from so I can credit that person here… I haven’t. I’ve tried searching for it too, but no luck. Sorry!
The review discussed how the blogger enjoyed the political elements within the book. As I love the dynamic and intrigue from a political stance in novels such as the Song of Ice & Fire series by George R. R. Martin, I think I could really enjoy Onyx & Ivory.
For the first time EVER, I am being sent on a business trip this week! Eek! I’m equally excited and nervous because I haven’t been to London since I was a child. How can I tell I am nervous? I’ve already started trying to look into trains and taking screenshots of maps etc. I’m a worrier, okay, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. It’s just a day trip, but I have to get up in the early hours of the morning night to get there, it’s going to be a long day! I’m sure I’ll enjoy it though!
Back to the bookish side of things, what posts are going live this week?
As we are fresh into the New Year, I feel it’s only appropriate to take a look at some of the books I am really looking forward to reading this year. This will be my first Can’t-Wait Wednesday post, so I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!
A little later in the week, I am going to work on whittling down the TBR with another Down the TBR Hole post. It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t get the numbers down. I’m forever adding new books so it feels like I am chasing my own tail sometimes. At least I know I genuinely want to read the books on the list!
I want to make good progress on the reading front this week. My aim is to finish Black Matter within the next couple of days, as it is a relatively short read. Next, I’ll be moving on to reading You Can’t Make Old Friends by Tom Trott. This is the first book of the series, for which I am taking part in a blog tour next month. I am hopeful that I will have this one finished, or nearly finished, by the time I am writing my next Sunday Summary post.
That’s all from me for now folks! Don’t forget… I would love to hear what your New Year’s resolutions are! What are you reading to kick off 2019?
The Swan Keeper is an historical, coming of age novel set in Northwest Montana’s Mission Valley in the late 1920s.
Lillian Connelly loves trumpeter swans and vows to protect them from a hunter who is killing them and leaving their carcasses for the wolves and coyotes to ravage.
On her eleventh birthday Lilly’s family visits the Cattail Marsh to see the newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun and fires on not only the swans, but on Lilly’s family. Unable to prevent tragedy, Lillian witnesses Drake kill her father, injure her mother, and slaughter the bevy of trumpeter swans.
The sheriff, Charlie West, thinks that Lilly is reacting to the trauma and blaming Drake because of a previous conflict between Drake and her father. Lilly’s mother, sister, and her best friend, Jerome West, the sheriff’s son, all think the same thing: that Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident.
Left alone to bring Dean Drake to justice, Lilly’s effort is subverted when Drake woos her sister, courts her mother, and moves into their home.
Who cannot love a girl who will risk her life:
1. for the sake of the truth and;
2. the lives of innocent trumpeter swans?
She has guts; some would say gall, but Lilly will not be chastened. Too young, she is forced to grow up and face the harshest realities of life, and that no one takes an impulsive eleven-year-old seriously.
As in Copper Sky, the natural beauty of the Montana landscape shines throughout the narrative. Picturesque mountains and vivid descriptions set the scene of Montana in the 1920’s. The changing of the seasons mark the passage of time as Lilly transitions from a child into the headstrong, confident young woman she is meant to be.
Nothing is impossible for this young girl. When everyone refuses to believe that she witnessed her father murdered by the man he feuded with, she sets out for justice against all odds. But Drake is on to her? What lengths will he go to, to ensure that no one believes her?
Having already read Copper Sky, I know the high standard of writing and character development from Milana Marsenich. Once again she has proven her ability to write strong, memorable characters. During a time when a family is tested to its limits, the bond holding them together proves that blood is thicker than water. Two squabbling sisters are able to pull together when it matters most. Hardship and struggle are themes that Milana can write incredibly well. Death, loss and sad kind of acceptance are all feelings we can relate to. Experiencing such a tragedy from the perspective of a child makes those feelings all the more profound.
Lilly’s youthful determination and Drake’s easy arrogance are but two examples of how each of these characters is brought to life. These two are opposing forces of nature and they catalyze one another. The depth and complexity of humanity are explored in each and every character, though. I’m a firm believer that Milana’s experience in mental health therapy lends a greater understanding as to how we, as people, tick, especially under stress.
The Swan Keeper is a beautiful novel. Tragic and heartfelt, yet with its own admirable beauty and appreciation of nature, the novel is not just an entertaining read. It’s a journey.
Author Bio – Milana Marsenich
Milana Marsenich lives in Northwest Montana near Flathead Lake at the base of the beautiful Mission Mountains. She enjoys quick access to the mountains and has spent many hours hiking the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. For the past 20 years she has worked as a mental health therapist in a variety of settings. As a natural listener and a therapist, she has witnessed amazing generosity and courage in others. She first witnessed this in her hometown of Butte, Montana, a mining town with a rich history and the setting for Copper Sky, her first novel. Copper Sky was chosen as a Spur Award finalist for Best Western Historical Novel.
She has an M.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling from Montana State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. She has previously published in Montana Quarterly, Big Sky Journal, The Polishing Stone, The Moronic Ox, BookGlow, and Feminist Studies.
She has a short story included in The Montana Quarterly book: Montana, Warts and All. She has two published novels, Copper Sky and The Swan Keeper.