Tag: bookblogger

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd September 2018

I look forward to writing my Sunday Summary every week. It’s a time to sit down and review what I’ve been doing and gauge how everything is. It’s my organisation time, if you like.

Some weeks are better than others. There are times when I manage to make progress on three or four books. Other times it’s only one, or hardly at all. Last week wasn’t such a great week for reading. Family was visiting, which took out some of my time, but I was in a bit of a slump.

I am hoping that the progress I have made this week is enough to break me out of it. I don’t really have time to be in a slump, with so many blog tours coming up in the next couple of months! I’ve come to think that maybe the belief that I have overstretched myself was one of the causes of my slump. I’m feeling better about it now though – I know when I am due to be reviewing the books on my list and I am confident I can do it!

 

Looking back to what has happened this week, I posted another Down the TBR Hole post on Wednesday. I managed to take three books off the list, so it was time well spent! It is getting to the point where the books on the list were added not too long ago, so I anticipate that going forward, I’ll be taking fewer books off the list than I have historically.

Yesterday, I published my reading list for September; if you want to see which books I am reading for upcoming blog tours, check out that post!

 

Books Read

 

When I lamented to you about my lack of progress last week, I told you that I had only read the first few chapters of Three Bloody Pieces. I’m pleased to say that I have made a lot more progress this week. I have so nearly finished it; I am going to call it done. There is one chapter left, and I am going to read it tonight. It’s so near as damn it!

I am also back on the audiobooks, after a couple of weeks break. I’ve started a bit of an arty project (again) and listening to these at the same time is perfect! I am picking up where I left off with Nevernight, by listening to Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I’ve listened to about 15% of the book in the last couple of days, which is good progress!

 

Books Discovered

 

I have been VERY good this week. There is literally nothing to report here. I haven’t added a single book to the list or even bought any…

*faints*

 

 

Coming Up…

toptentuesdayI enjoy writing Top Ten Tuesday posts… and I’ve been having a think about what topic I could feature next. Rather than focussing on books themselves, I’ve decided that this week, I’ll share my Top Ten favourite, go-to authors. I think I might struggle to narrow this down to ten…

 

I’ll be continuing my throwback mini-series on Thursday, with a review of another book or series I have read and am yet to review. I hope you can spare a few moments to join me for that!

 

Reading List – September 2018

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

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

 

The Barefoot Road – Vivienne Vermes

Goodreads – The Barefoot Road

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

Ragis – Donna Migliaccio

Ragis

Goodreads – Ragis

 

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

A Stain on the Soul – Elizabeth Davies

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

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

 

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

 

 

Desolation – Jesper Schmidt

Goodreads – Desolation

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

It’s waited long enough…

 

 

Another Kind of Magic – Elizabeth Davies

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

Goodreads – The Eye of the World

 

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

 

Yes, this is on the list AGAIN!

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Synopsis…

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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Book Review: Children of Blood & Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood & Bone has been on my reading list for a little while. The problem with being a book blogger is that we never quite get around to reading specific books at the right time. I had heard all about Children of Blood & Bone, in particular, its references to racial discrimination, whilst encompassing this in a magical, fantastical realm.
I was concerned, as I had heard so much about the book, that it might not live up to expectation.

Never have I been so glad to be wrong.

 

Children of Blood & Bone
Goodreads – Children of Blood & Bone

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

 

My Thoughts…

I feel like I was late to the party in reading this fantastic book, but better late than never, right?

I love how the author was inspired to write COB&B based on current, modern-day societal issues. These things cannot be highlighted if they are not talked about; writing about it this way is prominent enough for the message to be made clear, but keep the story entertaining. Taking the problem out of context highlights the issue even more. When such things are so commonplace, they can be overlooked or ignored. Tomi Adeyemi has managed to balance her inspiration with a gripping storyline that stands alone in its own right.

I love the principle of magic system set up and the depth of history interspersed in this fantasy novel. I also found it really interesting how Zélie struggles with the morality of magic and the power it wields. Whilst it is fantastic for the natives to be in a position to push back against their years of oppression, that kind of power has consequences. This Zélie recognizes; she frequently asks herself whether that kind of magic should be wielded by those who can use it against the interests of humanity.

COB&B is a bit of a coming-of-age story with fantastic characterisation and development. I can see its appeal to the YA audience. Zélie is a complex yet relatable character, trying to find her way in a society that is built to use her and her family as slaves.

I enjoyed reading the story from multiple perspectives, as opposed to just one.

Each of the characters successfully blurs the lines that society has drawn for them. The nobility and the diviners should hate each other. Nobles are frightened of the magic diviners used to wield as it once challenged their opposition. The diviners hate the nobles for murdering their parents and controlling them. They are opposing sides of the same war when it comes down to it. One side isn’t better than the other.

I really enjoyed the book overall, but I will admit there are parts I am less keen on. The chapters are quite short, but rather than making the book easier to read, I found it easier to put down more frequently. I think it comes down to personal preference, but the narrative does jump around a little too much for my liking.

I have to work the quick mention to another, reasonably small pet hate of mine. The romance. I can see why it is necessary; the forbidden love across the two sides raises tension and adds a further layer of conflict to an already complex storyline. I get it. I just didn’t buy into it at all. I’m sure there are other readers out there that think it’s cute and secretly pray that it all works out in the end. Not me, if I’m honest. It’s not my cup of tea.

 

Conclusion…

My favourite part of the book (and this is what keeps my rating at five stars) is how the narrative keeps the reader guessing right until the end. We know Zélie is our protagonist and that she is the “Chosen One” to bring back magic. There were several parts in the book in which I began to question how this could play out. There are plenty of twists in the narrative to keep you guessing! I find some stories are reasonably predictable and how they will conclude, however, this is not the case in this novel. Full of action, subplots and underlying motives, all is fair in love and war.

 

Reading List – August 2018

Every month seems to come around faster than the last. In the blink of an eye, it’s time to publish my reading list for August! This month I have some pretty long books on the list, so I am going to have to get my skates on!

Also, for the first time in over two years, I am going to be re-reading some much-loved books. I recently published a Top Ten Tuesday – Books to Re-Read post and basically convinced myself that I need this series in my life again. As you do.

So, shall we get started?

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

the eye of the world

 Goodreads – The Eye of the World

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

I have had this book on the reading list so long. Every month I try to get around to reading it, but as it is always the last book on the list (and I have taken to overstretching myself) it never happens for me. Well, enough is enough. This month, it’s the first book on the list and I am determined to finish it – or die trying.

Okay… so that’s a bit extreme, but you get my point.

 

Three Bloody Pieces – Elizabeth Davies

Three Bloody Pieces

 Goodreads – Three Bloody Pieces

Queen, widow, beggar – Lady Caitlyn is all three, and now she can add murderer to the list.

When death and treachery propels her south to Normandy, to seek sanctuary with the exiled Prince Alfred, visions of a woman with ancient eyes travel with her.

Herleva is a woman filled with ambition and greed. A woman who intends to be more than a commoner. A woman who gets what she wants by whatever means possible, even if she has to practice the dark arts to achieve her goals.

A woman who is a witch.

Caitlyn finds herself caught up in a magic which changes her very being. A magic which produces a king to change the lives of every man, woman, and child in England.

I am so excited to be taking part in a blog tour for this book next month. I have added it to the reading list well in advance, as I am going to be reviewing the later books in the series too. Those reviews aren’t going to be published until October/November this year.

Three Bloody Pieces looks set to be an exciting fantasy novel. Having read a few bits and pieces of other genres, this month I am certainly feeling the fantasy vibe. Most of my reads this month are of the genre.

 

Individutopia – Joss Sheldon

Individutopia

 Goodreads – Individutopia

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SOCIETY

Beloved friend,

The year is 2084, and that famous Margaret Thatcher quote has become a reality: There really is no such thing as society. No one speaks to anyone else. No one looks at anyone else. People don’t collaborate, they only compete.

I hate to admit it, but this has had tragic consequences. Unable to satisfy their social urges, the population has fallen into a pit of depression and anxiety. Suicide has become the norm.

It all sounds rather morbid, does it not? But please don’t despair, there is hope, and it comes in the form of our hero: Renee Ann Blanca. Wishing to fill the society-shaped hole in her life, our Renee does the unthinkable: She goes in search of human company! It’s a radical act and an enormous challenge. But that, I suppose, is why her tale’s worth recounting. It’s as gripping as it is touching, and I think you’re going to love it…

Your trusty narrator,

PP

This is the one book on the list that isn’t fantasy. I love the dystopian “society” (or lack thereof) the book is set in. I think this will be particularly interesting to read as, far more and more, we turn to social media and the internet to “socialise”.  Ironically makes us isolate ourselves from each other more. I can’t wait to see how this book portrays a world in which society has broken down.

 

The Relic Guild – Edward Cox

 Goodreads – The Relic Guild

Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls a hundred feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth – and the lives of one million humans – Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

I am very grateful recipient of a copy of this book (by Gollancz) in exchange for a review.

I know very little of this series, other than what I have read of the synopsis. Forbidden magic is a bit of a theme to the books I am reading at the moment. I have to say I am enjoying the theme. The synopsis puts me in mind of a Children of Blood & Bone meets Maze Runner kind of scenario.

I’m looking forward to reading this first book as an introduction to both a new series and a new author.

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

 

Goodreads – A Game of Thrones

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.

Yes folks, I talked myself into re-reading A Game of Thrones. Again.

This will be my third read through, but I’m justifying it by putting it to the end of the list and making it accommodate my other reading. Also, I’m hoping to have re-read the series so far by the time the last season airs in April next year.

Do I even need to justify it? I don’t think so…

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Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

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

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

 A Darker Shade of Magic

 Goodreads – A Darker Shade of Magic

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusion…

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

 

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Books to Re-Read

We all have a beloved favourite… or multiple books we yearn to re-read every once in a while! They may look tattered, dog-eared or rough… maybe even like they’ve gone through the mill a few times. In a way, that’s a sign of a really good book! Equally, some people worship their books like Gods. I have a pet hate of spine cracking and avoid it where I can. However well you look after your books, they truly are a gift that keeps on giving.

Today, I wanted to share with you the Top Ten Books (series where applicable) I would die to read again: –

 

The Mistborn Trilogy – Brandon Sanderson

I love the magical realism in these books and how well each of the characters is developed. I am yet to read the next trilogy taking place after the original series, but I would certainly read these again! And again…

 

Gentlemen Bastards – Scott Lynch

I am definitely going to have to re-read these books once The Thorn of Emberlain is released. I read The Republic of Thieves back in February 2015, so it’s been over three years since I’ve touched any of the books. I’ll admit I had even forgotten we were awaiting the next installment – good of me to remind myself (and you!) I’m not a fan of all the negative messages from other fans about it not being published yet. Books take as long as necessary to write and polish. Be patient.

 

The Kingkiller Chronicle – Patrick Rothfuss

This is a series I read some time ago as well.

Usually, when I fall in love with a book, it is either for the plot or the writing style… rarely both. This series is the absolute exception to the rule! I could read these on repeat and not mind one bit. Once it is finished, I expect this series is going to end up on my all-time faves list.

 

The Broken Empire series  – Mark Lawrence

The thing I distinctly remember loving about this series is how unlovable and flawed the MC is. He is no hero. He’s selfish, spiteful and egotistic, to mention but a few things. You come to understand why though, and that kind of makes him lovable in the end.

 

The Green Mile – Stephen King

This is an absolute classic! If anyone either doesn’t like this book or doesn’t want to read it again, then I don’t understand you. I think this is a book that I will revisit and cry over again and again in my lifetime.

 

IT – Stephen King

I only read this book about a year ago, so I am not looking to re-read any time soon. I want to re-read it as it is such a large and detailed book and I want to see if I missed anything the first time around. Stephen King is such a fantastic writer. I don’t think re-reading any of his books would get repetitive.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I think there are some fairly obvious reasons as to why I would like to read this book again.

I loved the narrative, the characters and the plot itself – but what is most important is the lesson in our history. Only from our mistakes can we learn. I would hate to think of a society so openly hostile to those within it for something so superficial as skin colour. Unfortunately, prejudice and discrimination haven’t been stamped out as much as I would like; people are just less overt about it. That is all the more reason to remind ourselves once in a while about just how awful it is.

 

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer is a very recent read. In fact, I devoured the book! Whilst I expect to love Muse of Nightmares just as much, that hasn’t come out yet. I would anticipate I’ll end up reading this duology again. The characters, the magic, and the narrative are beautiful.

I am still waiting for my Lazlo. Still. Waiting.

 

Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling

I grew up with these books, reading them at various stages in my childhood. Arguably, these books were hugely responsible for my love of reading. Now, I would like to read them again as an adult as I think I will appreciate them an awful lot more as more.

 

A Song of Ice & Fire (aka A Game of Thrones) – George R. R. Martin

I have in fact already re-read the series (so far) once and am pining to do so again. I am half considering re-reading one book of the series a month for the rest of the year. I’m not 100% decided though. They are large books and it would take a fair chunk of my reading time out for new books.

Fuck it. I’ve re-downloaded them onto my kindle. What’s done is done.

 

Have you read any of the books above? Would you want to re-read them again? Let me know in the comments!

 

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The London Murder Mystery series – Alice Castle

I am very pleased to be taking part in this Blog Tour today. The tour features the first two books in The London Murder Mystery series, Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery.

I was very kindly provided with free copies of each book in exchange for a review by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I cannot wait to share my thoughts with you guys!

 

Death in Dulwich

Death in Dulwich (London Murder Mystery 1)

Goodreads – Death in Dulwich

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21. Join Beth in #1 of the London Murder Mystery series, as she discovers the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.

My Thoughts…

Beth is a bubbly young woman, who discovers a murder on her first day back at work. Having convinced herself that she is implicated, she delves in to try and uncover the murderer and motive.

I quite enjoyed her bouncy, ditzy character. She loves to think she is organised; she cleans and tidies the house to “get her thoughts together”. The facade slips whenever she has to tip the contents of her handbag out to find her phone though. It is her way of determining that she is in control. But, as a single mum, things can get pretty hectic. I like the “modern” family structure in the book – increasingly there are more families, for one reason or another, that are reliant on a single parent. I thought it was great that this was recognised.

Alice Castle’s description of Beth is on-point, even down to the rogue, uncooperative hair (anyone with long hair will really relate to this, I’m sure). Her personality makes her the perfect candidate to want to uncover the mystery, despite being warned of the potential dangers by Inspector York. Exasperated at her meddling and finding her around the corner of every development, York has to concede to her knowledge of the small, exclusive community in order to solve the case. Whilst most of the narrative is written from Beth’s perspective, there are small sections from Inspector York. I would have liked to see a little more from his perspective, as the expert on the case.

The narrative is full of plot twists, leaving you guessing the next move and the identity of the perpetrator. What makes it even better is that the final twist was one I didn’t expect at all.

 

The Girl in the Gallery

The London Murder Mystery series #2

Goodreads – The Girl in the Gallery

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…

It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane sneaks off to visit one of her favourite places – the world-famous Picture Gallery.

She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy, Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.

Who is The Girl in the Gallery?

Join Beth in adventure #2 of The London Murder Mystery series as she tries to uncover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.

 

My Thoughts…

I moved on to reading The Girl in the Gallery almost immediately after Death in Dulwich. A number of the main characters are already established; therefore the plot flows effortlessly, without filling in too much back-story. The tale continues shortly after Death in Dulwich leaves off, making the book easy to pick up. There are plenty of references to the previous book to remind you what has happened before anyway.

The biggest plus point is how well the book tackles the sensitive issues within. Body image and the impact of social media are explored in detail. I particularly like how different characters in the book have various views on the struggle teenage girls’ experience. On the whole, the narrative has a balanced approach. This topic is completely different from the first book, so neither narrative nor setting is stale and repetitive.

The dynamic between characters is familiar, yet boundaries are tested in this second installment of the series. Inspector York has come to appreciate that in Dulwich, Beth has access to the inside scoop and enough curiosity to investigate to make his job easier. Where there was a reluctance to involve her in the previous case, now he calls upon her insight willingly.

One of my observations from Death in Dulwich is that there was little input from Inspector York into the narrative. Small sections are devoted to his viewpoint on the case, but they are few and far between. Whilst the sections in The Girl in the Gallery are still quite brief, York certainly has more of a voice and presence than before.

I really enjoyed reading both of these books and cannot wait to see what Calamity in Camberwell has in store! Once again, a huge thank you to both the author and Rachel for organising the tour! If you would like to read either book featured today, a copy can be purchased using the following links:-

Alternatively, the author is running a GIVEAWAY of a signed copy of each book via Rafflecopter. Please note that this is only available to UK residents at this time. See the Terms and Conditions below:-

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

 


 

About the Author

Before turning to a life of crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.

Alice is currently working on Calamity in Catford, the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery. It’s the third instalment in the London Murder Mystery series and will be published by Crooked Cat next year. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York. 

Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing at DD’s Diary.

She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.

Join Alice Castle on her Facebook page.

Alice is also on Twitter and sometimes even on Instagram 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 8th July 2018

Hi everyone and welcome to another weekly summary! Have you had a good week? I hope so! It’s been another hot one here, with plenty of blue skies!

This week has been a really exciting one… for reasons bookish and not! The first and most exciting news is family related. Anyone following me on social media will know that my sister graduated from University this week – I couldn’t be prouder!

Now onto bookish events; on Monday I took part in my first Blog Tour organised by Gollancz, posting my review of Ravencry by Ed McDonald. I thoroughly enjoyed both Blackwing and Ravencry, and I am grateful to have taken part! If anyone is yet to read my review, I would be eternally grateful if you could.

The “To Be Read” pile was reviewed and culled this week. Four out of ten books were axed in my Down the TBR Hole #11 post. Whilst it may not sound like much, over time this adds up. The TBR will look a lot healthier for it.

Books Read

This week I have made real progress in reading The London Murder Mysteries books. This is ready for the upcoming blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. I had to postpone finishing Death in Dulwich to take part in the Gollancz tour for Ravencry. Luckily I made a good start on the book as early as I did so I could afford to. I finished reading this on Tuesday and already have my thoughts drafted for the review. I am currently reading The Girl in the Gallery… and most of the way through it too! I’m hoping to finish reading this by tomorrow, giving me plenty of time to draft my review.

In between chapters of The Girl in the Gallery, I have been reading A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. I’m currently 20% through, but reading brief sections at a time makes it feel like I have barely started at all! I cannot wait to start reading this one in earnest!

Nevernight makes the list again this week, but I have only listened to this audiobook one morning or two. I think things are about to get really interesting, so I may find myself starting to binge listen to this. It’s hard enough getting myself out of the door in the morning as it is!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve basically undone all the hard work in my Down the TBR post because I have added as many books as I took off the list in that post…

The first addition to the list is The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams. From what I can gather, it is a bit of a classic in the Fantasy genre that has inspired modern writers. Needless to say, this was pretty much an automatic add. I typically find the orphan/coming of Age storyline a little overused, but I’ve added the book knowing it’s there. I can’t complain about it.

Hold me to that. Please.

Yesterday I received a fabulous book bundle from Gollancz – The Relic Guild trilogy by Edward Cox. I am yet to read any books by this author, so I can’t wait to be properly acquainted with the series and let you know my thoughts!

 

Coming Up…

Things are going to be a little different than usual because due to family commitments, I am not going to be able to post my usual Sunday Summary next week.

Don’t worry – I have plenty of other exciting posts lined up for you! To cover all bases, here are the posts coming up in the next TWO WEEKS: –

Week 1

I’ll be dropping my next post on Tuesday, in which I’ll be reviewing The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. I actually finished this book at the end of May. But, due to other commitments, I haven’t gotten around to reviewing it yet! Oops…

 

 

 

 

 

Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, but certainly not for me – or you! Empire of Silence is the fantastic debut novel by Christopher Ruocchio; it officially hit bookshelves on Thursday this week! I was privileged to receive an advance copy from Gollancz. If you want to check out the review I have written for the book, you’ll be able to find it here. What does this have to do with Friday 13th, you ask? Well, as part of the launch tour, I will be sharing a guest post written by the author himself!

 

 

I may not be posting on Sunday next week, but I will have ANOTHER Blog Tour post lined up for you on Saturday. In this post, I will be reviewing Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery by Alice Castle. If you like a cozy murder mystery, then the adventures of Beth Haldane, coined “Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple”, may be of interest to you.

 

 

 

Week 2

down the tbr holeJumping now to Wednesday, I will be reviewing the TBR pile again to further cull any impulse additions or books I no longer wish to read due to changing tastes. I am determined to get to the end of the list, so then I’ll have a realistic idea of how many books I truly want to read. Well, as much as is possible to gauge from an ever-expanding list, anyway.

 

 

Sunday SummaryThen, after two weeks, I’ll post the much anticipated Sunday Summary. I hope to have plenty to tell you about! If nothing else, these summaries help me get the house in order. It will be as much anticipated by me as anyone else!

 

 

Reading List – June 2018

It is that time of the month again folks – a new month and a fresh reading list!

With it being beginning of June, it’s time to bring out the summer reading list! What are you going to be reading this month? Do you spend a summer holiday indulging in a lighter read, or hit the books hard? I personally like to indulge in the latter – with a lot of time to fill and some sun to soak up, I would absolutely read something… heavier.

Having the time to take in all the details and give a trickier book all of my attention, with no distractions, is certainly my cup of tea. Alas, I have no relaxing holidays planned yet, so I will have to content myself dreaming about it.

And I feel like I need a holiday after the past couple of days! I apologise to anyone who has tried to access my site, as you may have been unable to. Remember I promised you some news in my Sunday Summary post? Well, I can finally share it – I am officially self-hosting my blog! I’ve nearly thrown my laptop at the wall in frustration (impatience, basically)… but I got there! So, with a new behind the scenes set up and a new look to boot, I hope the wait was worth it for you! There are some niggles to work out still, like missing images on old posts, but please bear with me! I’ll be working my way through fixes shortly!

So, diversions aside, shall I get on with my reading list now?

 

The Irrationalist – Andrew Pessin

So this is a carryover from last month and I have already made decent progress. Whilst I did start this last month, I had no way of finishing it on time. Sounds like the story of my life at the moment! No matter, I am already around 40% through this historical-themed murder mystery… and I cannot wait for the plot to unfold even further!

 

A Conversation With A Cat – Stephen Spotte

A Conversation With A Cat is the next book on my list for this month. OpenBooks very kindly provided me with a copy in exchange for a review. I have to say I am definitely intrigued by the unique perspective in this book… a tale of history from the eyes of (many) cats! It really isn’t every day you get to say that – that’s for sure!

 

Chilling Tales of the Unexpected – Ann Girdharry

The next book on my list is for a blog tour I am taking part in shortly. Chilling Tales of the Unexpected is a collection of four short stories… and I’ll confess I have already whet my appetite and read the first tale this weekend gone. These are only short and I think will make great material if I want to snatch a quick read in my lunch hour, or even for a break between other books. I’ll be sharing my thoughts with you on the 12th June, so I do hope you can join me then!

 

The London Murder Mysteries #1 & #2 – Alice Castle

The next two books on my list are also ARC’s because I am reviewing BOTH for another tour next month. Basically, I didn’t want to leave myself short of time to read these (I know what I am like). I’m not taking part in this tour until the 14th July, so I have no excuses! Again, going for the murder mystery theme – I must be going through a phase – haha!

 

The Eye of the World – Robert Jordan

The last book on my list is not an ARC.

Shock horror, right? Actually, I added this book to the list because it has been on my TBR a shamefully long time. Three and a half years, in fact. I know.

I added this first book of a long and established series after a friend of mine completely devoured them in the last years of school. I think so far I have tried a sample of the first chapter, but I always get distracted by other books. I have also tried a sample of the audiobook for it, but frankly, I don’t like the way in which it is narrated. I would much rather read the book myself. So I will. I am putting my foot down, and finally reading The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan.

Have you read any of the books on my reading list for this month? I would love to hear from you, as always!