Tag: books

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #23

Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in todays Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?

 

The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

Goodreads – The Great Gatsby

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story is of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

 

I really enjoyed learning about the history of America at school, in particular the 1920’s and 1930’s. The Great Gatsby is a classic novel too, and I really want to read more of them (you’ll see this is a theme in this Down the TBR Hole post). This is definitely staying on the list!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

Goodreads – The Diary of a Young Girl

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has become a world classic-a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.

In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, the Franks and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

 

Anyone who reads my blog will know that I am a huge fan of anything historical. I tend to read more historical fiction if anything. Again, this is another one of those popular classics and I have to read it. It will be far more harrowing than any fiction novel because I know it was real. I’m sure I’ll cry – is any other reaction appropriate?

Verdict: Keep

 

A Land of Shades – Charles Lyte

Goodreads – A-Land of Shades

August, 1914. The Germans have occupied Louvain in Belgium.

Among the refugees fleeing the city is Julian Hydon, a young Jesuit priest. But when he witnesses the brutal roadside killing of a scholastic, Eugene Dupierreux, Hydon determines to join the war as an Army Chaplain. But his sense of mission turns to disillusion, doubt and anger after spending time with a boy named Andy West who suffers the fate of a court martial.

Bent on experiencing the pleasure of a woman and becoming a ‘man’ before he dies, Andy warns Hydon he is about to sin and seeks absolution. Hydon is uncertain how to counsel the boy and feels his own faith slipping. But when the boy is found guilty of desertion, Hydon must accompany him to his execution.

Outraged and struck by the futility of the war, Hydon publicly criticises the sentence, entangles himself with the deserter’s girlfriend, and is rejected by the Army and the Church. Banished to England, Hydon wanders purposely from mission to mission. He is posted first at a hospital for the wounded near his home and then at Pentonville prison, resigned to comforting the souls of the damned. But something is missing. Hydon feels useless and wants to be back on the frontline, aiding the war effort.

Being handed a white feather on the train by a self-righteous lady on the train is the last straw. Isolated Hydon seeks redemption in anonymity and battle for one last time.

‘A Land of Shades’ is an unusual and gripping story of the Great War as told by a young Jesuit priest who struggles to retain his faith in the face of brutality and violence.

 

Historical fiction is another theme to this TBR. I must have been going through a phase at the time I added these books to the list! I knew that this book was my cup of tea when I saw it, so I already have the e-book ready and waiting for me. It’s a small part of our world history, but one I enjoy reading all the same.

Verdict: Keep

 

Tricks of the Trade – Euan B Pollock

Goodreads – Tricks of the Trade

Stewart Scott is a first year trainee in one of Edinburgh’s oldest law firms.

Out of his depth, he is constantly working just to stay in the game and match the talents of the other first year trainees. But a chance to shine comes Stewart’s way when he is given the opportunity to partake in an investigation.

A client of the firm has recently died. The deceased, Major Robertson, left a substantial estate, and the terms of his will stipulate that his considerable wealth will go to his family – unless the Major died by suicide, whereupon his estate will be donated to a charity. And the conclusion, thus far, has been suicide.

Heading up the investigation into the Major’s death is Sebastian Dakar, practicing Zen master and the most unlikely detective that Stewart could imagine. But upon their arrival at the Major’s family home, Stewart begins to realise that perhaps the case of the Major isn’t as cut and dried as first thought.

 

Occasionally I like to take a break from my usual reads, and this short and snappy legal-based novel will be a great way of doing just that! I won a copy of this book in a competition/giveaway run on Instagram by the author last year. It’s currently sat on my bookshelf in the hall. Next time I need a quick read, I could always pick this up. I really enjoyed the short stories I read last month.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Goodreads – The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children’s and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as “Rapunzel,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “Cinderella” would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezso.

From “The Frog King” to “The Golden Key,” wondrous worlds unfold–heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique–they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms’ later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes’s introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms’ prefaces and notes.

A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers.

 

When I received a copy of this for my birthday (on request), a few people were a little bemused as to why I would want it. Yes, okay, it’s children’s stories, but not the ones we know and love today. These are the originals written over 200 years ago before they were revised and adapted. They include parts that never made it to the popular children’s tales we tell now. This particular edition also touches on the historical influences in some of the stories.

Verdict: Keep

 

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Goodreads – Rebecca

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

 

I tried to read this years ago when I borrowed it (for what I hope are obvious reasons?). I struggled then and if I’m honest, I’ll think I’ll struggle again. It’s not really my thing. Yes, it has elements of genres I enjoy, like horror, but the romance puts me off. It’s a classic and I added it to the TBR for that reason. I don’t want to force myself to read books I don’t think I’ll enjoy though.

Verdict: Go

 

Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Goodreads – Don Quixote

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray – he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants – Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.

With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote generally has been recognized as the first modern novel. The book has had enormous influence on a host of writers, from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who reread it once a year, “just as some people read the Bible.”

 

And again, we have a work of classical fiction. I am relatively sure I added it to the list having read a fellow bloggers review of it. In hindsight though, I don’t think this is my cup of tea either.

Verdict: Go

 

Crimes Against Magic – Steve McHugh

Goodreads – Crimes Against Magic

It’s been almost ten years since Nathan Garrett woke on a cold warehouse floor with nothing but a gun, a sword, and no idea of who he was or how he got there. His only clue … a piece of paper with his name on it. Since then, he’s discovered he’s a powerful sorcerer and has used his abilities to work as a thief for hire. But he’s never stopped hunting for his true identity, and those who erased his memory have never stopped hunting for him. When the barrier holding his past captive begins to crumble, Nathan swears to protect a young girl who is key to his enemy’s plans. But with his enemies closing in, and everyone he cares about becoming a target for their wrath, Nathan is forced to choose between the life he’s built for himself and the one buried deep inside him.

Crimes Against Magic is an Urban Fantasy set in modern-day London with Historical flashbacks to early fifteenth-century France. It’s book one of the Hellequin Chronicles, a series about Nathan (Nate) Garrett, a centuries-old sorcerer.

 

Whilst I like fantasy novels, I always approach Urban Fantasy with a degree of scepticism.

I read fantasy novels as a means of escapism. Having the modern-day setting to these novels makes it a little harder for me to achieve that. It might sound completely daft to you, but there you have it. I’m not 100% sure about this one, so I’ll take it off the list.

Verdict: Go

 

Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Goodreads – Crime and Punishment

‘Crime? What crime?…My killing a loathsome, harmful louse, a filthy old moneylender woman…and you call that a crime?’

Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a random murder without remorse or regret. He imagines himself to be a great man, a Napoleon: acting for a higher purpose beyond conventional moral law. But as he embarks on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is pursued by the growing voice of his conscience and finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.

This vivid translation by David McDuff has been acclaimed as the most accessible version of Dostoyevsky’s great novel, rendering its dialogue with a unique force and naturalism.

 

This is a classic that is definitely staying on my list! It’s one of the first (and few) I bought as a reward for meeting a monthly savings goal – the larger goal being a deposit for my (now recently purchased) new car! I set myself a tough target so there are only a couple of months that I managed to not dip into the savings. I bought this because the synopsis is interesting… and it’s a classic. I’m trying to read more of those.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Rainmaker – John Grisham

Goodreads – The Rainmaker

John Grisham’s five novels — A Time To Kill, The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, and The Chamber — have been number one best-sellers, and have a combined total of 47 million copies in print. Now, inThe Rainmaker, Grisham returns to the courtroom for the first time since A Time To Kill, and weaves a riveting tale of legal intrigue and corporate greed. Combining suspense, narrative momentum, and humor as only John Grisham can, this is another spellbinding read from the most popular author of our time.

Grisham’s sixth spellbinding novel of legal intrigue and corporate greed displays all of the intricate plotting, fast-paced action, humor, and suspense that have made him the most popular author of our time. In his first courtroom thriller since A Time To Kill, John Grisham tells the story of a young man barely out of law school who finds himself taking on one of the most powerful, corrupt, and ruthless companies in America — and exposing a complex, multibillion-dollar insurance scam. In his final semester of law school Rudy Baylor is required to provide free legal advice to a group of senior citizens, and it is there that he meets his first “clients,” Dot and Buddy Black. Their son, Donny Ray, is dying of leukemia, and their insurance company has flatly refused to pay for his medical treatments. While Rudy is at first skeptical, he soon realizes that the Blacks really have been shockingly mistreated by the huge company, and that he just may have stumbled upon one of the largest insurance frauds anyone’s ever seen — and one of the most lucrative and important cases in the history of civil litigation. The problem is, Rudy’s flat broke, has no job, hasn’t even passed the bar, and is about to go head-to-head with one of the best defense attorneys — and powerful industries — in America.

 

I am yet to read any of John Grisham’s novels, but I have heard a lot of good things about his writing. I know work colleagues that regularly read his books, so I definitely want to give them a go. Also, do I want to watch how one man challenges a huge corporation and cross my fingers that he gives it to them good? Yes, yes I do.

Verdict: Keep

Once again that’s three out of ten books that I have dropped from the list. At least I know I have a reasonable idea of what I like to read and I’m not *too* impulsive when it comes to adding books to the TBR. Okay, that’s a complete lie!

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #22

Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in today’s Down the TBR Hole post. Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I’ve been basing this post on five books for a while in order to make them more manageable to read and easier to write. However, for the last several months I’ve only gotten around to writing one post per month. If I want to get my TBR reviewed in full, looking at five books a month isn’t going to cut it. Therefore, I am going back to reviewing ten books on the list. I hope you’re sitting comfortably.

 

Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Goodreads – Assassin’s Apprentice

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

 

I have started reading this book in odd quiet moments on my phone and not gotten that far… too many times! It’s no fault of the book. I just can’t read on my phone. It’s too small and uncomfortable. I need to make time to read this properly on my kindle. Not only have I really enjoyed what I have read, but a friend of mine has read and enjoyed her books. I trust her judgement.

Verdict: Keep!

 

The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors – Dan Jones

Goodreads – The Templars

Jerusalem 1119. A small group of knights seeking a purpose in the violent aftermath of the First Crusade decides to set up a new order. These are the first Knights of Templar, a band of elite warriors prepared to give their lives to protect Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land. Over the next two hundred years, the Templars would become the most powerful religious order of the medieval world. Their legend has inspired fervent speculation ever since. But who were they really and what actually happened?

 

My current knowledge of the Templars originates from playing Assassin’s Creed. I’m not going to lie. If memory serves, I found this book in Waterstones during a shopping trip away with some female friends. I decided to buy it when I got home as I had limited space in the case. No word of a lie, the e-book came up on sale on Amazon either that night, or the next morning. So, I bought it!

I think I’ll enjoy learning the foundation and history of this holy Order.

Verdict: Keep!

 

The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England – Ian Mortimer

Goodreads – The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England

Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the 14th century. This text sets out to explain what life was like in the most immediate way, through taking the reader to the Middle Ages, and showing everything from the horrors of leprosy and war to the ridiculous excesses of roasted larks and haute couture.

 

This is another history book (surprise surprise!) but with a different subject matter entirely. I know quite a bit about the likes of the Cold War, the economic boom and great depression in America… that sort of thing. If there was a lack in my history lessons, it was British history. By reading this book, I’m looking to rectify the gap in my knowledge.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtenay

Goodreads – The Potato Factory

Ikey Solomon is very successful indeed, in the art of thieving. Ikey’s partner in crime is his mistress, the forthright Mary Abacus, until misfortune befalls them. They are parted and each must make the harsh journey from 19th century London to Van Diemens Land. In the backstreets and dives of Hobart Town, Mary learns the art of brewing and builds The Potato Factory, where she plans a new future. But her ambitions are threatened by Ikey’s wife, Hannah, her old enemy. The two women raise their separate families. As each woman sets out to destroy the other, the families are brought to the edge of disaster.

 

I think it was the criminal element of this that drew my attention to the novel. Having read the synopsis again though, I’m not so sure about it. I have too many books to be sat on the fence, so I’m going to drop this off the list.

Verdict: Go

 

Necronomicon – H. P. Lovecraft

Goodreads – Necronomicon

Originally written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, H. P. Lovecraft’s astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction, and cosmology that are as powerful today as they were when first published.

This tome presents original versions of many of his most harrowing stories, including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle, in order of publication.

 

I’ve already started reading some of these stories. They are weird and wonderful (with a side dish of creepy). It’s not a book I’ll read in one go – it’s too large for that! It’s sat on my bookshelf in the hallway though, so I’ll pick it up periodically and work my way through it!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Calling – Neil Cross

Goodreads – The Calling

Meet DCI John Luther.
He’s brilliant. He’s intense. He’s obsessional. He’s dangerous.

DCI John Luther has an extraordinary clearance rate. He commands outstanding loyalty from friends and colleagues. Nobody who ever stood at his side has a bad word to say about him. But Luther seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things he shouldn’t; things way beyond the limits of the law.

The Calling, the first in a new series of novels featuring DCI John Luther, takes us into Luther’s past and into his mind. It is the story of the case that tore his personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice. Beyond fury, beyond vengeance. All the way to murder…

 

I love watching Luther on TV, so I have to see how his character translates through a narrative. I cannot imagine anyone playing Luther but Idris Elba. He’s perfect for the role!

Verdict: Keep!!

 

Tess of the Road – Rachel Hartman

Goodreads – Tess of the Road

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.

 

I really enjoyed reading Seraphina and Shadow Scale; in particular, the element of music. Tess of the Road is set in the same fantasy world, but I get the impression it’s quite separate from these books too. Again, I’m on the fence, so I think I’ll set it aside.

Verdict: Go

 

Punishment – Scott J. Holliday

Goodreads – Punishment

Do you want to know what it’s like to die, to kill, to really fear for your life? Then get hooked…

Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has seen it all—literally. Thanks to a technologically advanced machine, detectives have access to the memories of the living, the dying, and the recently dead. But extracting victims’ experiences firsthand and personally reliving everything up to the final, brutal moments of their lives—the sights, the sounds, the scents, the pain—is also the punishment reserved for the criminals themselves.

Barnes has had enough. Enough of the memories that aren’t his. Enough of the horror. Enough of the voices inside his head that were never meant to take root…until a masked serial killer known as Calavera strikes a little too close to home.

Now, with Calavera on the loose, Barnes is ready to reconnect, risking his life—and his sanity. Because in the mind of this serial killer, there is one secret even Barnes has yet to see…

 

The premise of this novel is unique and a little unnerving… in a good way! This is a total keeper – I think the synopsis speaks for itself!

Verdict: Keep!!

 

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Goodreads – Jane Eyre

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?

 

I want to read Jane Eyre because it’s a classic, but I’ll admit I am really dubious about the romance element of the story. I was so on the fence about it that I decided to ask my bookish friends on Twitter whether I should still read it or not.

The vast majority voted yes, commenting that there is so much more to the novel and that I should stick with the first few chapters. Thank you for your comments guys, it’s been a great help! I’ll take your advice and keep it on the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

India Black – Carol K. Carr

Goodreads – India Black

When Sir Archibald Latham of the War Office dies from a heart attack while visiting her brothel, Madam India Black is unexpectedly thrust into a deadly game between Russian and British agents who are seeking the military secrets Latham carried.

Blackmailed into recovering the missing documents by the British spy known as French, India finds herself dodging Russian agents-and the attraction she starts to feel for the handsome conspirator.

 

When I first added this book, the synopsis intrigued me. To a degree, it still does, but not as much as it did when I added it. I’m conscious of the number of books on my list, and I need to trim it down. I think this book will also be relegated for the greater good.

Verdict: Go

So, that’s three out of ten books plucked from the list!

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Reading List – June 2019

It’s time for me to post June’s reading list… since June has come around the corner already!! Where is this year going?

I fared a lot better with May’s reading list than I anticipated. It’s rare that I get through anything near six books in a month. I would have been happy if I’d read my average of five and to have started the sixth, A Feat for Crows. Turns out, I’ve managed to read nearly 70% of that as well! I’ve far exceeded my expectations! So, I think I am going to push myself a little more this month too. Why not? I relish a challenge.

I have a few books I have been sent for review, as well as blog tours this month and one very early next month. As a result, I’m going to be picking up quite a few ARCS. I also have a copy of a book I’ve requested from Netgalley – try not to faint. I’ve decided to give it another go, but be more selective about what I download and pull my finger out when it comes to reading them.

So, let’s take a look at the books I am planning on reading in June.

 

A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

 

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

 

This one is pretty self-explanatory – I am looking to get this one finished since I am most of the way through the book. With tours coming up in the next week or so for other books, A Feast for Crows is being relegated to the sidelines a little bit. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing as I have been reading this for days. A change is as good as a rest – that’s an expression, right?

 

Game of Crones – Jay Raven

 

Forget Happily Ever After – the most delicious fairy tales end in darkness and despair…
Welcome to a mystical age of cruelty, hexes and treachery, where malicious magic rules and you are but a single necromancer’s spell away from eternal terror.

From malevolent medieval magicians to Wild West witches, this spellbinding volume by a master of the macabre is packed with frightening fables guaranteed to send a supernatural chill down your spine.

If you’re thrilled by exciting dark fantasy tales, with cunning twists, edge-of -the seat tension and unexpected shivers, you’ll love Game of Crones. Pick it up today. If you dare…

 

I’m not generally in the habit of reading many short stories, which is a bit daft really! I should! They’re a great opportunity to have a short break away from a lengthier narrative. I also dabble a little in entering short story competitions, so it makes sense to read them and see what works! It will only improve my own writing (with any luck…)

I’m taking part in the upcoming blog tour for this collection. As this is the most imminent tour, I’ll be prioritising this read first. I expect I’ll have these read in a day or two in anticipation for my post at the end of the week!

 

The Lynmouth Stories – L. V. Hay

 

Beautiful places hide dark secrets …

Devon’s very own crime writer L.V Hay (The Other Twin, Do No Harm) brings forth three new short stories from her dark mind and poison pen:

– For kidnapped Meg and her young son Danny, In Plain Sight, the remote headland above Lynmouth is not a haven, but hell.

– A summer of fun for Catherine in Killing Me Softly becomes a winter of discontent … and death.

– In Hell And High Water, a last minute holiday for Naomi and baby Tommy  becomes a survival situation … But that’s before the village floods.

All taking place out of season when the majority of tourists have gone home, L.V Hay uses her local knowledge to bring forth dark and claustrophic noir she has come to be known for.

 

Here is another short story collection I am reading this month for a blog tour! This is fast approaching next week, so I’ll be getting my skates on to get these read as well! Each of my short story collections is of different genres, with this one being a crime. It’s a genre I read quite a lot of, so I am fairly sure I won’t be long in devouring these at all!

 

Biohacked and Begging – Stephen Oram

 

The future is ours and it’s up for grabs…

Immerse yourself in the future of biohacking and implants, genetic modification, blockchain micro-transactions and futuristic dating-apps with author of ‘Eating Robots’, Stephen Oram.

Prodding and poking the possible in volume 2 of Nudge the Future, Oram starts with another flash fiction foray into the world of Unified Sentience and ends with virtual reality for babies and biohacked fish.

With sharpness and wit, these sci-fi shorts will grab your imagination and refuse to let go.

 

And another collection of short stories I am looking to read this month. This is my Netgalley request! I’ve decided I really ought to give Netgalley another chance. I certainly won’t be the kind of person that reads anything and everything on there because it’s not my favourite site, but if I’m selective then I don’t see why we can’t come to a mutual understanding with each other.

 

The appeal for this book is the genre. I am endeavouring to read more science fiction, and I figured this book ticks two boxes in that respect. I get to explore the genre as well as read more short stories. This way, I’m not diving in too deep if I don’t like this particular branch as well. Win-win!

 

The War Within – Stephen Donaldson

 

Stephen R. Donaldson, the New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, returns to the world of his Great God’s War fantasy epic as two kingdoms– united by force–prepare to be challenged by a merciless enemy…

It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository’s magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace–and their marriage–has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs’ strength and will to inspire their kingdoms to become one to defend their land, or all is lost…

 

I have very kindly been sent a copy of The War Within for review by Gollancz. In preparation, I read the first book of the series, Seventh Decimate, last month. Since I am reading a few different things and branching out, it seems only fair that I stick to my roots for at least one book! This is one of my lengthier reads of the month… well, as far as I can gauge from the thickness of the book anyway! It’s a hardback too, so it’s going to be a hefty weight to be carrying around with me whilst I read it.

And for the record, no! Leaving it at home is just NOT an option haha!

 

Three – K. J. McGillick

 

Betrayal. Deceit. Danger. Murder.

How would you feel if you discovered your death was planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why.  Would you feel anger or fear or hopelessness knowing your fate.  All you could do was wait. Tick Tock.

One early spring morning, Emma Collier, an art history professor awakens to find her lover gone. Vanished. In a desperate attempt to locate him, she is stunned to discover that he is not an art dealer at all. But he is part of a powerful organization dealing in international money laundering, forged art, and human trafficking.

Implicated as a willing participant in his malevolent world, she struggles to clear her name. But when her body double is found brutally murdered she knows she is marked for death. As her life is ripped apart she must formulate a plan to stay alive. Now with the help of Agent Cillian O’Reilly, of the FBI Arts Crime Team, they pursue a trail that snakes across three continents and leads her to a  plan for mass murder. Will she survive?

 

I’ve taken a real liking to K. J. McGillick’s books. I was introduced to her as an author via a couple of other blog tours organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. I have loved every book of hers so far, so when the opportunity came up to read this thriller, it was an immediate yes from me! The tour for this book is towards the end of the month, so I plenty of time to kick back and relax with this beaut to hand.

 

 

Storms over Babylon – Jennifer Macaire

 

After winning a prestigious award, Ashley is chosen to travel through time and interview a historical figure. Choosing her childhood hero Alexander the Great, she is sent back in time for less than a day. He mistakes her for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. What follows, after she awakes under a pomegranate tree, is a hilarious, mind-bending tale of a modern woman immersed in the ancient throes of sex, love, quite a bit of vino, war, death, and ever so so much more.

 

Avid readers of my blog will know that I have read a number of books in Jennifer Macaire’s The Road to Alexander series now. This month is no exception, as I am reviewing Storms over Babylon at the very beginning of next month. I’ve really enjoyed this historical fiction series thus far. Alexander the Great is a historical figure I’m not all that familiar with (until now at least). I can’t wait to see what happens as Ashley and Alexander hurtle toward Alexander’s apparently unavoidable fate!

So, there you have it! These are my planned reads of the month! The question is, what are you reading? Have you read any of the books above? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #21

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

I’ve written quite a few of these posts now and they are proving a great way of tidying up my reading list. Okay, the list isn’t exactly GOING DOWN, but it is all books I want to read now. Shall review the next five books on my list?

 

The Siege – Helen Dunmore

Goodreads – The Siege

Called “elegantly, starkly beautiful” by The New York Times Book Review, The Siege is Helen Dunmore’s masterpiece. Her canvas is monumental — the Nazis’ 1941 winter siege on Leningrad that killed six hundred thousand — but her focus is heartrendingly intimate.

One family, the Levins, fights to stay alive in their small apartment, held together by the unlikely courage and resourcefulness of twenty-two-year-old Anna. Though she dreams of an artist’s life, she must instead forage for food in the ever more desperate city and watch her little brother grow cruelly thin. Their father, a blacklisted writer who once advocated a robust life of the mind, withers in spirit and body. At such brutal times everything is tested. And yet Dunmore’s inspiring story shows that even then, the triumph of the human heart is that love need not fall away.

 

I’m a complete sucker for historical fiction and especially for this time period. Typically, I would read about the front line, so to speak. I think it will be refreshing to read about the impact of war on everyday citizens for a change.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception – Emmanuel Carrère & Linda Coverdale

Goodreads – The Adversary

On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…

With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense Emmanuel Carrère begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, 18 years of lies, five murders and the extremes to which ordinary people can go.

 

Doesn’t this sound really chilling? That’s precisely what I thought when I read the synopsis on Bookbub. I bought a copy straight away and I’m intrigued to see where this sinister sounding novel takes us.

Verdict: Keep

 

Secondborn – Amy A. Bartol

Goodreads – Secondborn

Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?

 

I like reading dystopian novels, and that’s why I added this to the list. Looking at it again now, I’m not so sure about it. It’s not that I think I won’t like it, but there isn’t a burning, overwhelming desire to read it either. I’ve got plenty of books on the list that I would love to read right here, right now. I think this one has to go.

Verdict: Go

 

Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King & Owen King

Goodreads – Sleeping Beauties

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze.

If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease.

Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

 

Stephen King is pretty much an auto-approve for me. I have read a variety of his books now and really enjoyed them all. The synopsis would have drawn me to the book whether he had a hand in it or not; the fact he does is only bonus points.

Verdict: Keep

 

11.22.63 – Stephen King

Goodreads – 11.22.63

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.

 

Again, this is an automatic yes! What’s even better is that I came across this gem in a charity shop for only 50p!

Verdict: Keep

So, only one off the list this time, but I don’t mind too much! Do you agree with my choices? Have you read any of these books? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Reading List – May 2019

We are just over a third of the way through the year – isn’t that a scary thought?! Yes, it’s time to publish another reading list; I have lots of plans this month. My recent time off has got me kind of excited and slightly ambitious about this TBR. I have lots of books that I want to pick up now and in order to achieve my goal, I’m thinking of experimenting a little more with reading more than one book at once. This worked really well for me recently, so why wouldn’t it in the long term?

I’m also excited to be picking up more books that aren’t part of blog tours. I am only taking part in one tour this month (in stark contrast to the four I did last month). It affords me more freedom to choose books I have wanted to pick up for some time! I fully expect my last book of the list is going to appear on next month’s list too – it’s an epic in its own right.

 

Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell

 

“Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction….This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred’s adventures.” -USA Today

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children-and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex…with Uhtred’s help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning side of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred-Alfred’s sharpest sword-must now make the choice that will determine England’s future.

 

I’ve recently watched Season 3 of the TV adaptation, The Last Kingdom, and it has re-ignited my love for the story! I last picked up the series nearly two years ago now – June 2017. That’s far too long! I had barely started my blog at that point.

 

Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire

 

Can you face the consequences of cheating the Fates? Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery. With their son, Paul, being worshiped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?

 

This read is my one and only blog tour of the month. I have read the first two books in the series already, The Road to Alexander and Legends of Persia already. I’m really enjoying the series so far; I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that I know very little of the time period itself. Whilst it’s great to visit favourites (Tudor History, for example), it’s also refreshing to try something new. This is a gamble that really paid off on this occasion!

 

Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson

 

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning. These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.

But a seventh Decimate exists–the most devastating one of all…

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.

Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate–and reverse the fate of his land.

All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains–and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn…

 

I have plans to read a book that Gollancz have sent to me for review next month, called The God Within. That book is the second instalment of a series. You can probably guess where this is leading… There is no way I’ll be able to pick that up knowing that I haven’t read the first book –so here it is! A bit of pre-reading, shall we say…

 

The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King

 

This second volume in the epic series ‘The Dark Tower’ both stands alone and continues the adventures of Roland of Gilead. He has mysteriously stepped through the doorway in time to 1980s America, where he meets Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes.

 

I have started reading this book already! I finished April’s TBR at the 11th hour (almost precisely) yesterday and decided that I wanted to get stuck in with May’s list. This is my first victim ahem book of choice for the month! It’s been too long since reading the first book really; I need to pick these up sooner!

 

The Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

 

In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.

 

Here is another read sent to me by Gollancz for review. I haven’t really read all that much fantasy aimed at a YA audience lately, so I am looking forward to seeing how I like this book. I think the plotline is really interesting – it’s what has enticed me to read it the most!

 

A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin

 

Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.

Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.

The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.

 

There is absolutely no way I am going to get all the above books read in one month, but if I can read the rest and at least make a START on this one, I’ll be happy! Naturally, A Game of Thrones is hot-topic at the moment with the final series already halfway through (and wasn’t that last episode epic?!) Now more than ever I am keen to pick up the books and continue to enjoy the experience.

 

What are you reading?

 

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Quintessential Quotes – Favourite Quotes from The Stormlight Archives #1

It’s been over a year since I last shared one of these posts. I don’t really know why I don’t do them more often – they’re an opportunity to share the best parts of a book or series to others! To date, I have only written these posts covering a series of books. Today’s post, however, is just going to cover one book in particular – The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

 

The Way of Kings

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive begins an incredible new saga of epic proportion.

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.

 

Brandon Sanderson is fast becoming one of my favourite fantasy writers.

I first picked up his Mistborn trilogy and I loved the concept of magic still having a physical basis (it stems from ingesting different metal compositions) and the subsequent limitations that has. The Stormlight Archives magic has a similar dependency but on the completely different elements of light.

It’s taking all my self-control not to pick up the rest of this series too quickly. This epic fantasy series is anticipated to consist of ten books and as yet, only three have been published. I’m trying to pace myself. I really enjoyed the first book though, so I’ll cave in sometime soon. If anything, writing this post and looking at some of my favourite quotes from the book makes me want to pick up Words of Radiance already!

Of the five quotes I have picked out, these last two have to be my favourite!

 

Have you read The Way of Kings or any other books by Brandon Sanderson? Do you have any recommendations for me?

 

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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #20

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

Kill the Father – Sandrone Dazieri

Goodreads – Kill the Father

‘The rock cast a sharp, dark shadow over a shape huddled on the ground. Please don’t let it be the boy, Colomba thought. Her silent prayer didn’t go unanswered. The corpse belonged to the mother.’

THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN STOP HIM IS THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY…

Dante Torre spent eleven young years in captivity – held by a man known only as The Father – before outwitting his abductor. Now working for the police force, Torre’s methods are unorthodox but his brilliance is clear. When a young child goes missing in similar circumstances in Rome, Torre must confront the demons of his past to attempt to solve the case.

Paired with Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, all evidence suggests The Father is active after being dormant for decades, and that he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante…

 

When I discovered this book I knew it was something I would love to read. Doesn’t the synopsis just sound so eerily intriguing? I’ve got a paperback copy of this sat on my bookshelf in the hallway ready to read. As a rule, I only tend to get myself physical copies of books if I know I’ll enjoy them. To me, they’re just a little more prestigious than e-books. I’m choosier about the physical books I buy I suppose. They’re more expensive and going to be out on display. I have to be sure I’ll enjoy them!

Verdict: Keep

 

Executed – R. R. Haywood

Goodreads – Executed

The team of heroes extracted from their timelines to stop the impending apocalypse didn’t think they needed a leader.

But they’ve got one anyway.

With their mission in tatters, Miri has been called in to steady the ship. And to focus them on their assignment: preventing the end of the world.

The problem is, the world doesn’t know it’s in danger. With governments pursuing them relentlessly, attempting to steal the time-travel device to use for their own ends, the heroes are on the run—fighting for survival in a world they’re supposed to save.

Meanwhile, Miri has motives of her own. And when the existence of a second device is discovered, the team’s mission and their lives are in mortal danger…

 

I’ve read the first book of this series but to be honest, after talking to some people, I have doubts about whether to continue reading it. I liked the first book in an “it’s okay, readable”, but not exceptional way. From what others have said, I don’t think it gets any better. There’s some kind of romance element that comes in later too. I don’t like that all that much in books; I can deal with it if the rest of the book is so good that it makes up for it, but I think I’ll regret keeping going with these.

Verdict: Go

 

Dancer’s Lament – Ian Esslemont

Goodreads – Dancer’s Lament

Taking Malazan fans back to that troubled continent’s turbulent early history. The opening chapter in Ian C. Esslemont’s epic new fantasy sequence, the Path to Ascendancy trilogy.

For ages warfare has crippled the continent as minor city states, baronies, and principalities fought in an endless round of hostilities. Only the alliance of the rival Tali and Quon cities could field the resources to mount a hegemony from coast to coast — and thus become known as Quon Tali.

It is a generation since the collapse of this dynasty and regional powers are once more rousing themselves. Into this arena of renewed border wars come two youths to the powerful central city state that is Li Heng. One is named Dorin, and he comes determined to prove himself the most skilled assassin of his age; he is chasing the other youth — a Dal Hon mage who has proven himself annoyingly difficult to kill.

Li Heng has been guided and warded for centuries by the powerful sorceress known as the “Protectress”, and she allows no rivals. She and her cabal of five mage servants were enough to repel the Quon Tali Iron Legions — what could two youths hope to accomplish under their stifling rule?

Yet under the new and ambitious King Chulalorn the Third, Itko Kan is on the march from the south. He sends his own assassin servants, the Nightblades, against the city, and there are hints that he also commands inhuman forces out of legend.

While above all, shadows swirl oddly about Li Heng, and monstrous slathering beasts seem to appear from nowhere to run howling through the street. It is a time of chaos and upheaval, and in chaos, as the young Dal Hon mage would say, there is opportunity.

 

I really like the sound of this fantasy novel. It seems to have some cliché character roles, but for the sake of a good story and world-building, I can live with that.

Verdict: Keep

 

Eagles in the Storm – Ben Kane

Goodreads – Eagles in the Storm

Arminius has been defeated, one of the three eagles has been recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain. Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle liberated and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest. But Arminius is still at large, devious, fearless and burning for revenge of his own. Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land. Into this cauldron of bloodshed, danger and treachery, Tullus must go – alone. His mission – to find and bring back his legion’s eagle – will place him in more danger than he has ever faced before. Can he succeed? Can he even survive?

 

When I bought this, I didn’t realise it was the third book in the Eagles of Rome series. It’s definitely a keeper, but I am going to have to get myself the first two books and read them before I even think about picking this up. Just knowing they are in the wrong order is enough. I can’t do it. Maybe I’m a little OCD.

Verdict: Keep

 

Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie

Goodreads – Murder on the Orient Express

What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant detective in Hercule Poirot, and the most ingenious crime ever conceived?

 

Maybe it seems a little unfair to have my doubts about such a classic, but now I do. I managed to watch the recent film starring Kenneth Branagh and Johnny Depp – in fact, I think that’s why I added this to my TBR! I have reservations about the book though if I’m honest. It’s a tale so well known that I think it won’t meet expectations, so to speak. I’ll want to like it so much that I’ll be twice as disappointed if I don’t. I’ve also been reading a lot of crime/mystery lately. Maybe I’m growing a little bored of the genre.

Verdict: Go

So, that’s 2/5 off the list! What do you think? Do you agree with me?

 

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Reading List: April 2019

This month I have a LOT of blog tours. What can I say, I have no self-control when it comes to books! Ahaha!

Naturally, there are quite a few ARC’s on this list as a result of signing up to the tours. I am going to balance that with a couple of shorter, traditionally published books that I want to pick up and read of my own volition. By shorter, I basically mean I am going to take a break from reading George R. R. Martin’s epic 1000 page tomes! I love them, but I feel a real lack of progress reading them just because they are SO LONG!

Maybe I’ll start A Feast for Crows on a whim if I feel the urge, but it is not a part of my official reading list. I’m also not going to start it if doing so will compromise the reading schedule. That kinda sounds like famous last words to me somehow…

So, which books am I picking up this month?

 

Legends of Persia – Jennifer Macaire

When Ashley Riveraine jumped at the chance to travel back in time to meet her hero Alexander the Great, she never thought she would end up staying there…

Following Alexander the Great’s army on its journey across Persia, Ashley is walking the knife edge of history. As a presumed goddess, Ashley is expected to bless crops, make sure battles are won and somehow keep herself out of the history books.

Can Ashley avoid the wrath of the Time Institute while keeping the man she loves alive?

 

Having taken part in the blog tour for The Road to Alexander earlier this year, I think I practically snatched the hand off of Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources when she offered the second book in the series to review. Aside from Macaire’s writing, I haven’t really ventured into the time period of Alexander the Great. The slight crossover with science-fiction to include Ashley’s initial time travel and conflict of altering history isn’t invasive or out of place. It’s one of the aspects I enjoyed in The Road to Alexander the most! I’m looking forward to seeing where this second work of historical fiction leads us.

 

Trust Me – K. J. McGillick

Sex. Power. Murder.

Dr. Gabriel Blackwell and his wife Sandra Blake have it all. He’s a brilliant thoracic surgeon. She’s a high-powered attorney with family money. Their lives are as loving as they are glamorous.

Or are they?

When a nurse Dr. Blackwell works with is brutally murdered, the questions fly. Who would want to kill this woman and why? When an autopsy reveals the woman was pregnant, all signs point to Dr. Blackwell. Just what was her relationship with him?

Whispers about a scandalous sex club surface. How many other lovers are there? Are any of them safe? How far would he go to protect his reputation?

Tragedy strikes again as Sandra Blake is found dead floating in their pool. Dr. Blackwell now finds himself on trial for two murders. Facing life in prison, Dr. Blackwell will grasp at any straw to preserve his freedom.

Any straw.

Is anyone innocent? Is anyone safe?

 

I have taken part in blog tours for other books by K. J. McGillick in the last few months – Facing A Twisted Judgement and Karma Never Loses an Address. I really enjoyed both books, so I wanted to take this blog tour opportunity to try something else of hers. Crime fiction is something I enjoy reading quite a lot, so signing up was an easy decision.

 

Justice Gone – N. Lombari Jr

A beaten homeless vet. Three cops gunned down. A multistate manhunt. The trial of the decade.

A new kind of legal thriller

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

 

I can’t say I have ever read anything that focuses on or is influenced by the military very much. Justice Gone is a great way to bridge that gap as I know I will enjoy the legal thriller element of the novel. I decided to take this on as a means of branching out, to try something a little different. I really hope the risk pays off.

 

The Watcher of Dead Time – Edward Cox

Labrys Town, home to a million humans cut off from the rest of the universe, has been invaded. Those who protected it have been deposed.

The Relic Guild are scattered across the worlds of the Aelfir. Many of them are dead or dying. The Genii control everything. The war is almost over.

Clara, a young woman barely able to control her werewolf side, has seen her friends and mentors killed in front of her. She is the last hope for Labrys Town.

But someone else is watching…

The dramatic conclusion to the award-nominated fantasy trilogy which began with THE RELIC GUILD.

 

I am 100% reading this because I didn’t get around to it AT ALL last month. It’s disappointing, although not all that surprising either. Not only did I take on A Storm of Swords, which is over 1000 pages in its own right, I’ve also had some procrastination issues as a result of feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Reading long books is a double-edged sword – it’s a great achievement when you have enjoyed a book and finally get to the end… but it can be a real drag to get there.

I’ve also had plenty of lunches out, a slightly more active social life, and by stark comparison, I rediscovered my love of Minecraft. Each and every one of these things has eaten into my reading time. I’m going to have to get a handle on that.

 

Maskerade – Terry Pratchett

Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, the Discworld’s greatest witches, are back for an innocent night at the opera. Naturally there’s going to be trouble, but at the same time there’ll be a good evening’s entertainment with murders that you can really hum to.

 

After some heavy reading *cough cough* A Song of Ice and Fire series, I can always rely on some of Pratchett’s excellence and witty humour to lighten the tone. Maskerade is the next Discworld book on my list and it features the Witches. They are my favourite characters in the Discworld universe, so I can’t wait. Combine that with being a theatrical tale – a parody of Phantom of the Opera, and it sounds like a winner to me!

 

So, that’s the scripted reading list this month. Maybe I’ll pick up A Feast for Crows in between, but that depends on how well I progress.

What are you reading this month?

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #19

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

Goodreads – Memoirs of a Geisha

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

 

I added this to my TBR after reading some really good reviews of it. I must admit, looking back at that decision now, that this book will be to my taste. Let’s be honest, romantic and erotic has never been my cup of tea when it comes to literature.

Verdict: Go

 

A Darkness at Sethanon – Raymond E. Feist

Goodreads – A Darkness at Sethanon

A Darkness at Sethanon is the stunning climax to Raymond E. Feist’s brilliant epic fantasy trilogy, the Riftwar Saga.

Here be dragons and sorcery, swordplay, quests, pursuits, intrigues, stratagems, journeys to the darkest realms of the dead and titanic battles between the forces of good and darkest evil.

Here is the final dramatic confrontation between Arutha and Murmandamus – and the perilous quest of Pug the magician and Tomas the warrior for Macros the Black. A Darkness at Sethanon is heroic fantasy of the highest excitement and on the grandest scale, a magnificent conclusion to one of the great fantasy sagas of our time.

 

I took a whole two seconds to decide I was keeping this book on my list! I loved Magician years ago and again when I revisited it recently. The rest of the series is definitely staying on my TBR. It’s a total no-brainer!

Verdict: Keep

 

Wytchfire – Michael Meyerhofer

Goodreads – Wytchfire

In a land haunted by the legacy of dead dragons, Rowen Locke has been many things: orphan, gravedigger, mercenary. All he ever wanted was to become a Knight of Crane and wield a kingsteel sword against the kind of grown horrors his childhood knows all too well.

But that dream crumbled—replaced by a new nightmare.
War is overrunning the realms, an unprecedented duel of desire and revenge, steel and sorcery. And for one disgraced man who would be a knight, in a world where no one is blameless, the time has come to decide which side he’s on.

 

I’m going to be really honest here and say that adding this to the TBR was born from an urge to read more fantasy. When I was younger I used to only read fantasy novels… so much so I got a bit sick of them. I was simultaneously bored with the genre and actively trying to seek out more. Does that make sense? Maybe, or maybe not. Either way, I don’t really have the burning desire to read this anymore.

Verdict: Go

 

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Goodreads – Dark Matter

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

 

I have heard so many excellent things about Dark Matter. I bought the e-book last year because I knew it was a keeper on the TBR. In fact, I thought it sounded SO GOOD I nearly bought a physical copy, months later, forgetting I already had the e-book version. It also fits my bill of trying to read more sci-fi books. Its a win-win situation.

Verdict: Keep

 

Anne Boleyn – Evelyn Anthony

Goodreads – Anne Boleyn

On a lovely midsummer afternoon, Henry Tudor rides to Hever Castle. There, he feasts his eyes on Anne Boleyn, who caught his roving attention at court a few months earlier. Anne is in no mood to receive her king. He has torn from her the one man she loved: Harry Percy, who was forced to marry another. But King Henry VIII is not a man who gives up—the thrill of the chase only excites him more. Yet the woman he desires so passionately is no fool. Educated at the French court, Anne vows that she will not share the fate of her naïve younger sister, Mary, who after bearing Henry a bastard son was cast away and married off to a country squire. No, Anne will settle for nothing less than the crown of England, even if Henry has to break with Rome in order to marry her.

History comes thrillingly alive in a novel that features a teeming canvas of iconic real-life characters: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the enemy Anne vows to destroy; Henry’s first wife, the proud and pious Queen Catherine of Aragon; and Thomas Cromwell, who engineers Anne’s downfall. From the halcyon early days of courtship to her imprisonment in the palace tower for treason, this is a tale of love, ambition, and the tragic destiny of Anne of the Thousand Days.

 

Of all of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn’s life story is the one that captures my attention the most. I have a number of books in my TBR dedicated to the woman’s history. The Tudor period is my favourite of all historical subjects. You can see where this is going. It’s an easy decision.

Verdict: Keep

This has to be one of the easiest Down the TBR Hole posts I have ever written. Sometimes I can be a bit wishy-washy, on the fence, but these were all really easy choices for me to make!

At least I know what it is I want to read (and there is variety too)

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 3rd March 2019

It’s time for the Sunday Summary (aka weekly wrap-up) again guys! Have you had a good reading week?

My week had quite a good start really. Last week I failed in writing my review of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I really thought I was going to struggle. How do you even manage to start such an epic task? I did just fine though – in fact, I had to stop myself else I’d have been waffling nonsense! If you already love the book I would love to hear what you think about it as well!

Yesterday, again later than scheduled, I published my reading list for March. It was a little bit rushed to publish that post since I left it so late. I ended up spending a lot longer at a work social on Friday than I expected.

 

Books Read

My primary focus this week ended up being a little different than planned. I had hoped to finish Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares, but as I am proofreading as well as reading for review, this is quite an intensive task. I haven’t gotten very much sleep this week on account of a neighbour’s loud television at all hours of the night. Literally, 24/7. Put it this way, yesterday was my first opportunity to catch up on the much-needed sleep. I woke up at 11:45 am – much later than my 8:30 am alarm! Eek!

So, my head hasn’t been in the right place for proofreading. Instead, I decided to focus my attention on the last book on my February list, The End of Magic by Mark Stay. I started this book from scratch this week and I’m currently at 67%. I haven’t been reading at my best speed (for reasons mentioned above, as well as being out for lunch twice, staying late at work for an hour on Wednesday AND a work social on Friday), but I’m hoping to really make a push to have these two books read soon!

You may recall that I mentioned a book called Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies in last week’s Sunday Summary post. Well, I was able to pick that up on Thursday. Naturally, my curious self couldn’t help but have a little nosy at a few chapters. There is no such thing as just looking at a few pages now…

 

Books Discovered

Out of the blue, I received a book recommendation by a friend yesterday, which was nice! She is one of my more bookish friends from school and I think we have similar tastes. She describes Gormenghast as “a brilliantly written, funny and macabre fantasy with lush descriptions and distinct characters”. The funniest part is that apparently, one character acts just like someone we both went to school with and the book “voices exactly why he was so irritating”.

I couldn’t possibly say no to that recommendation. I always try to credit them when I receive them, so thank you to my friend Alice @amjlawrence

 

Coming Up…

Before I even begin to tackle March’s reading list, priority number one is to finish February’s reads. Now that the pressure at work is off and I can hopefully get some sleep, I am really going to push finishing reading Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares and The End of Magic by midweek.

In terms of blog posts, I have decided to post another Top Ten Tuesday this week. It’s been a month since the last one, to the day. This month, my post will be all about my top ten book recommendations.

Later in the week, I’ll be dropping another review your way. This one is for The Cathedral of Known Things by Edward Cox, book two in the Relic Guild series. I am really looking forward to concluding the series by reading The Watcher of Dead Time later this month. This will be a great opportunity to conclude my thoughts about that book before I delve into the next!