Tag: books

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #11

Happy Thursday everyone!

Today is a bank holiday, so I get to enjoy being off work! It will be strange going back for one day tomorrow, mind. How are you all?

I’ve had a happy couple of days as I have just watched my sister graduate from University with a 1st honours degree. I am a very proud sister right now!

 

Today I am putting together another Down the TBR hole post, to make sure the list doesn’t become unruly. I’ve accepted it’s going to remain long… and it will always be added to, but I can try, right? For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, here are the rules: –

The meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story:

  • 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, shall we review the next ten books on my list?

 

The Secret Library – Oliver Tearle


Goodreads – The Secret Library

As well as leafing through the well-known titles that have helped shape the world in which we live, Oliver Tearle also dusts off some of the more neglected items to be found hidden among the bookshelves of the past. You’ll learn about the forgotten Victorian novelist who outsold Dickens, the woman who became the first published poet in America and the eccentric traveller who introduced the table-fork to England. Through exploring a variety of books—novels, plays, travel books, science books, cookbooks, joke books and sports almanacs—The Secret Library highlights some of the most fascinating aspects of our history. It also reveals the surprising connections between various works and historical figures. What links Homer’s Iliad to Aesop’s Fables? Or Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to the creator of Sherlock Holmes? The Secret Library brings these little-known stories to light, exploring the intersections between books of all kinds and the history of the Western world over 3,000 years.

This is pretty much a no-brainer for me. It also guarantees that my TBR will get a lot longer after I’ve read it! I am always looking for new ways to discover new books… and I think this book will do just that for me!

Verdict: Keep

 

Because You’ll Never Meet Me – Leah Thomas


Goodreads – Because You’ll Never Meet Me

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.

This book and the sadness of the near impossible friendship between these two boys make me want to read this book. I think we have all experienced similar feelings of confusion or isolations during our teenage years, so I am hoping to relate to these characters in one way or another.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Iron Ship – K. M. McKinley


Goodreads – The Iron Ship

An incredible epic fantasy begins!

The order of the world is in turmoil. An age of industry is beginning, an age of machines fuelled by magic. Sprawling cities rise, strange devices stalk the land. New money brings new power. The balance between the Hundred Kingdoms is upset. For the first time in generations the threat of war looms.

In these turbulent days, fortunes can be won. Magic runs strong in the Kressind family. Six siblings strive – one to triumph in a world of men, one to survive murderous intrigue, one to master forbidden sorcery, one to wash away his sins, one to contain the terrible energies of his soul.

And one will do the impossible, by marrying the might of magic and iron in the heart of a great ship, to cross an ocean that cannot be crossed.

I was won over by “epic fantasy” if I’m honest. It is my favourite genre of all time and I am intrigued by the combination of magic and the industrial revolution. By all means, this is not a slight book; at 650 pages, but I am up for the challenge. This is a keeper.

Verdict: Keep

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Nevernight
Goodreads – Nevernight

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

This isn’t a case of does it stay… rather, it should be on my current reads list.

Technically, I’m listening to it via Audible, and it’s so fantastic that I have already purchased Godsgrave with my next credit. I’m already two-thirds of the way through and I cannot wait for the first book to come to its conclusion!

Verdict: Keep

 

Streets of Darkness & Girl Zero – A. A. Dhand

Goodreads – Streets of Darkness
Goodreads – Girl Zero

There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.

His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.

But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react. Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn’t careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.

I originally added these books when the author was featured in Writers Magazine. Whilst they do sound interesting, I’m not sure I want to read them as much as I did when I added them originally.

Verdict: Bin

 

The Best Kind of People – Zoe Whittall


Goodreads – The Best Kind of People

What if someone you trusted was accused of the unthinkable?

George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?

With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.

 

I had forgotten I added this to the TBR; to be honest, a part of me wonders why. You think it would never happen near you.

One of the teachers at my school was arrested and charged for a sexual crime.

Whilst I was no more involved than being taught by him, the story is close to the bone. Guilty or not, I don’t think I would be comfortable reading and trying to sympathise with the accused based on what has happened here.

Verdict: Bin

 

Shantaram – David Gregory Roberts


Goodreads – Shantaram

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”

So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.

Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.

As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city’s poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.

Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas – this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.

I think this was an impulse addition to the TBR as well. Not sure why and I can’t even justify it.

Verdict: Bin

 

Red Rising – Pierce Brown


Goodreads – Red Rising

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

This sounds like the perfect blend of Fantasy and Science Fiction. When it comes to technical sci-fi, I get a bit lost. Red Rising and the plot is one I think and hope I can really get behind. I love the idea of rebellion against oppression!

Verdict: Keep

 

If We Were Villians – M. L. Rio


Goodreads – If We Were Villians

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.

Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.

It involves crime, theatre and Shakespeare. Need I say more? I absolutely love anything that centres around the stage and I am truly hooked by this synopsis.

Verdict: Keep

 

So there you have it! I decided to bin 4 out of 10 books, so that isn’t too bad!

Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned and want me to change my mind? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #10

Having looked back, I haven’t actually written a Down the TBR Hole post and cleared out any unwanted books for over six months now. It’s no wonder these things get out of control!

For anyone who doesn’t know how this works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story:

  • 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’m going to be looking at the next ten books on the pile since I’ve neglected the pile for so long! Shall we jump right in? After I left off in my last post – with Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (which I have now read!) I added a number of classics. I know I want to read these and frankly, they aren’t up for debate. For the sakes of making a more interesting post for you, I have decided to skip those.

 

Gilead – Marilynne Robinson

Gilead

Goodreads – Gilead

Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson’s beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows “even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order” (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.

Having read the synopsis again, I can’t really remember why I added this book to the list. I must have been inspired by something, but if I was it’s long gone now. Whatever the circumstances, I’m not convinced that this is something I would really love to read, so I’m going to pass on this one.

Verdict: Bin

 

Voyage in the Dark – Jean Rhys

Voyage in the Dark

Goodreads – Voyage in the Dark

‘It was as if a curtain had fallen, hiding everything I had ever known,’ says Anna Morgan, eighteen years old and catapulted to England from the West Indies after the death of her beloved father. Working as a chorus girl, Anna drifts into the demi-monde of Edwardian London. But there, dismayed by the unfamiliar cold and greyness, she is absolutely alone and unconsciously floating from innocence to harsh experience. Her childish dreams have been replaced by the harsher reality of living in a man’s world, where all charity has its price Voyage in the Dark was first published in 1934, but it could have been written today. It is the story of an unhappy love affair, a portrait of a hypocritical society, and an exploration of exile and breakdown; all written in Jean Rhys’s hauntingly simple and beautiful style.

I know why I’ve added this book to the list.

When it comes to books about love, passion, heartbreak, I am very choosy. The historical setting is why I have added this book to the list. Right now, I’m not really in the mood to read 170 pages of someone else’s relationship problems. That probably sounds really harsh, (because it is), but I don’t see the point in picking up a book I doubt I’ll enjoy.

Verdict: Bin

 

Never Let me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

Never let me go

Goodreads – Never Let Me Go

As a child, Kathy – now thirty-one years old – lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed–even comforted–by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham’s nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood–and about their lives now.

A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance–and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro’s finest work.

I was torn about this one.

Whilst I am kind of intrigued by the story and the characters, I’m not really feeling it. Not that I think I won’t enjoy the book, but I can’t say I definitively will either. I have so many other books on the list now, I’m inclined to pass.

Verdict: Bin

 

You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself – David McRaney

You are not so smart

Goodreads – You Are Not So Smart

An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise.

Whether you’re deciding which smart phone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic, but here’s the truth: You are not so smart. You’re just as deluded as the rest of us–but that’s okay, because being deluded is part of being human.

Growing out of David McRaney’s popular blog, You Are Not So Smart reveals that every decision we make, every thought we contemplate, and every emotion we feel comes with a story we tell ourselves to explain them, but often these stories aren’t true. Each short chapter–covering topics such as Learned Helplessness, Selling Out, and the Illusion of Transparency–is like a psychology course with all the boring parts taken out.

Bringing together popular science and psychology with humor and wit, You Are Not So Smart is a celebration of our irrational, thoroughly human behavior.

Non-fiction books don’t often feature in my TBR, but this one is staying firmly on the list! Psychology (and precisely how the brain works) is one of my favourite subjects; I think this is something I will find both informative and humorous. I don’t like being wrong, so this may just be an eye-opener!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Wages of Sin – Kaite Welsh

The Wages of Sin

Goodreads – The Wages of Sin

Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh’s medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and—perhaps worst of all—her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.

Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city’s ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St Giles’ Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah’s patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.

Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patient’s, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh’s dank alleyways, bawdy houses and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh’s most lucrative trades, and, in doing so, puts her own life at risk…

 

I barely have to think about this one. Adding it to the TBR last year is not something I have changed m mind about. I expect I will really enjoy reading this. Historical fiction, (and dark themes within) are right up my alley. It’s a no-brainer.

Verdict: Keep

 

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See

Goodreads – All The Light We Cannot See

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

 

I added this book to my TBR with the intention to read along with another blogger. But, with so many books and so little time, it didn’t happen.

This would usually be a go-to genre for me, but I’m not sure this is something I would enjoy reading by myself. Whilst beautifully written, it is apparently difficult to get into. Without the motivation of reading with others, I fear I’d end up putting this down all-too-quickly.

I have to say no to this one, on this occasion.

Verdict: Bin

 

The Shining – Stephen King

The Shining

Goodreads – The Shining

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.

This isn’t even up for debate. It’s staying. I really love the Stephen King books I have read so far. Whilst based on the film, this “story” comes highly recommended by my parents. On the list, it remains.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Floating Theatre – Martha Conway

Floating Theatre

Goodreads – The Floating Theatre

In a nation divided by prejudice, everyone must take a side.

When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles in to life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more …

But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger.

For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.

But as May’s secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her.

And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own …

 

I remember purchasing a copy of this book last year, so I guess that is a good a reason as any to read it. I love theatre, so combine this with a historical theme, add some civil unrest and I am SOLD.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Destroyer – Michael-Scott Earle

The Destroyer

Goodreads – The Destroyer

After untold centuries of absence, the evil Ancients have returned. Their magic appears unstoppable and their hunger for conquest is insatiable. To protect the country of Nia, Duchess Nadea and Scholar Paug make a desperate journey to find a human legend: A man known to have destroyed these Ancient foes with a powerful army.

But legends can lie.

When Paug and Nadea revive their hero from sleep, his virtue is far from clear.

Is he really their Savior or their Destroyer?

 

I think I downloaded this book whilst it was on some kind of free promotion. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t pay for it, because I am less enthusiastic about it than I evidently was at the time. That’s not to say I won’t like it at all, but it just isn’t screaming at me to read it really. I’ll keep it because I have it.

I can’t help but sneak a look at the reviews when I do this; a couple of the comments made worry me. Once I got to that point I stopped reading. Maybe it’s a book to read and take with a pinch of salt?

Verdict: Keep

 

The Borgia Bride – Jeanne Kalogridis

The Borgia Bride

Goodreads – The Borgia Bride

Vivacious Sancha of Aragon arrives in Rome newly wed to a member of the notorious Borgia dynasty. Surrounded by the city’s opulence and political corruption, she befriends her glamorous and deceitful sister-in-law, Lucrezia, whose jealousy is as legendary as her beauty. Some say Lucrezia has poisoned her rivals, particularly those to whom her handsome brother, Cesare, has given his heart. So when Sancha falls under Cesare’s irresistible spell, she must hide her secret or lose her life. Caught in the Borgias’ sinister web, she summons her courage and uses her cunning to outwit them at their own game. Vividly interweaving historical detail with fiction, The Borgia Bride is a richly compelling tale of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, loyalty, and drama.

Perhaps unconventionally, my interest in the history of the Borgia family came about as a result of featuring in the Assassin’s Creed games (the Ezio storyline, for anyone interested). Those to date remain my favourite of the franchise… because I love the setting and storyline. The controversy of the family appears to be founded from their real history – with that being the case, I am really looking forward to reading this!

Verdict: Keep!!!

 

So there we are!! I don’t think that’s a bad cleanse of the list! Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? What do you think? As ever, I would love to hear from you!

Quintessential Quotes – A Game of Thrones edition

Happy Tuesday everybody!!
When I published my first “Quintessential Quotes” post last month, I enjoyed taking the time to review the quotes and snippets I had pulled out of books as important, significant, or downright witty. Revisiting them gives you a purpose for looking out for them in the first place, after all!
When I committed to putting this post together, I had no idea on the theme I would choose. Last time, I featured my favourite quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (of the books I had read so far, at least!).
These books continue to make a huge impression on me, so it was tough deciding on another series of equal, amazing standard to take inspiration from. As the title suggests, I finally found my muse… and I think it is a series that a lot of people love – be it the TV series or the books. So, without further adieu and in no particular order, here are my Top 5 Quotes from A Game of Thrones (Book 1):-
 
GoT 1
GoT3
These are very similar quotes and I relate to them a lot personally, as I am sure many do. We have all experienced cruelty of a kind at some point in our lives.
 
GoT 4
Another quote from our little Lion of Lannister, which is in a way quite contradictory to the first two. I like to think if I am able to mock myself, then I get the best of both. I am guilty of taking myself very seriously though.
 
GoT 5
Seems relevant even now, doesn’t it? #Brexit
 
GoT 2
This probably is my favourite quote of all, as it really sums up the players and how the game of thrones plays on and on. (I also like to compare myself to Tyrion in that my mind is my weapon, but bookish doesn’t always mean smart. I can dream, yes?)
 
Those of you familiar enough with the series will probably recognise that the majority of these quotes are sourced from none other than Tyrion Lannister. Tyrion is by far my favourite character! Always the butt of the joke and underestimated, there is something I find somewhat relatable to this wise dwarf.
If this post has achieved one thing, it had made me want to read from start to finish ALL OVER AGAIN!! And I might just do it! Watch this space.
Who is your favourite character? What quotes have you adopted from the series? I would love to know!
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 20th May 2018

I feel like over the past couple of weeks, my attention span and my inclination to read had dwindled a little.
That’s not to say I stopped reading, because I didn’t. I have been reading some great books, but I think the nicer weather is having it’s effect on me. I’ve spent more time out walking and enjoying the sunshine whilst I can get it than I would usually. On one such walk I also got to say hello to a poor lamb, whom the local coastguard had rescued from falling off a cliff.
It’s not something you see everyday, that’s for sure!
 

Books Read


The majority of this week was spent reading Diana Christmas by F. R. Jameson. I was kindly provided with an electronic copy of the book in exchange for a review and I would like to say a huge thanks for the opportunity. I enjoyed the characters and the setting of the book; it was refreshing to read something a little different.
After finishing Diana Christmas yesterday, I made a very brief start on The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. It was, however, the most cursory of beginnings… not really enough to comment on the book as yet. It is one of my last Netgalley reads, so I am looking forward to reading and reviewing it.
I also listened to more of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff this week. It’s great to be able to listen to a book – I don’t understand why some people are so against it. It’s convenient and if you have a great narrator, it really brings a story to life!
 

Books Discovered

The Six Tudor Queens KoA
You know by now that I am a historical fiction nerd.
I came across Alison Weir in a feature she has in June’s edition of Writing Magazine (I subscribe so I get editions earlier than the shops do). She discusses how she balances out writing his-fic with factual information and the research she puts into it – if it’s a genre you are interested in then I would say it’s worth a read! She has just released the third book of this series, which is the prompt for the article I suppose. I have yet to read any though, so needless to say, it’s been added to the ever-growing list!
 

Coming Up…

Next week I am reviewing two books for you! I am going to be reviewing Eternity’s Echoes, at the request of the author, on Wednesday.
I’ve decided to add this additional review next week because I feel it is long overdue. I may have only finished the book last week, but it has taken me some time to read and I am keen to share my thoughts with you all. Yes folks, I am talking about Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio.
What are your plans for the week ahead?
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 13th May 2018

It’s Sunday again! It barely feels like the weekend has even started, and already we are over half way through.
Weekends are just not long enough.
This week I opened up a little about myself in my review of the audiobook An Almond for A Parrot by Wray Delaney. This normally isn’t the sort of book I would pick up, however the historical setting and inclusion of magic swayed me to see what it was all about. Whilst I enjoyed the book – I won’t deny it made me feel a little awkward. You can catch the full details in my review.
 

Books Read


 
I finally finished Empire of Silence this week, and boy… was it worth the wait! I’ve been reading this book for a few weeks now, and it’s really made me think I ought to pick up science-fiction books more often. I want to thank Gollancz once again for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to it’s release in July and I cannot wait to share a full review.
Sticking with the science-fiction theme, I have also read Eternity’s Echoes at the request of the author. A quick thank you here for providing me with an ecopy of the book. It’s a tale that explores the concept of time travel and potential consequences it may have if misused. I’ll be publishing a review shortly, so keep an eye out for that.
I also furthered my audiobook progress this week! So far I am loving the narrative of Nevernight. Not only is the story interesting, I love Mia as a character. The narrative itself is written in a clear manner, with an underlying tone of sarcastic wit that I relate to entirely; the narrator does an excellent job in encapsulating this. I can’t wait to listen to the story further!
 

Books Discovered


My first book buy of the week was Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell. I love his Saxon stories series, (aka The Last Kingdom to those that only watch it on TV), and I also love everything about the stage and theatre. Picking up this book was a no-brainer for me once I saw it!
I actually received a copy of Blackwing to read and review from Gollancz a couple of weeks ago(?!)… ish. Anyway. I hadn’t added it to my blog before because I like to post to social media to thank the publisher first, which I was rather late in doing.
I have this amazing ability to be as un-photogenic as possible, and if I’m not convinced I like a picture… I won’t share it. Thank the lord for photo editing… because I still wasn’t all that great when I finally took that photo. Thanks to some cropping and a cheeky filter, I published the photo on InstagramTwitter and you were spared the sight of my hideous sunburn. It rather matched my lipstick. No joke. I am Casper the ghost in corporeal form.
 

Coming Up…

Almost a month after I read the book, I’ll be posting my review of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I really enjoyed this book, even though the topic is less than cheery. If anyone is yet to read it, I highly recommend it. As for the film… I don’t think I could watch it. I’m weak.
Rebecca mono

Five Reasons I Don't Rate Netgalley

I think pretty much all book bloggers have or will dabble with the offerings of sites such as Netgalley, Edelweiss or Bookbridgr at some point. I mean, what’s not to love about free books, right?
Well.
I see other bloggers hugely enthusiastic about the site… usually talking about how they have downloaded FAR too many books to keep up out of sheer excitement over the privilege. I never quite understood that because I didn’t really do it. I regret to say that I have never felt the same enthusiasm over the site; today’s post is all about telling you why.
 

Time Pressure

Book bloggers inevitably have to read A LOT in order to keep content on their sites… and let’s face it – there is practically an infinite choice out there! I remember hearing a ridiculous fact about how long it would take you to read all the free books available for download via Amazon. It was years… decades, even! Decades of continuous reading, and those books barely scratch the surface on the number out there available.
Inevitably, reading takes time. At the moment my average reading speed is about 4.5 books a month, which isn’t the most I could do… but hey, I don’t have a death wish. Bearing in mind I work 35 hours a week and have a little of a social life on the side, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading and writing. I already put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up the schedule I do… and I feel extra pressure by Netgalley and it’s rating system to review ASAP. As soon as you are accepted for a book, your rating drops… and the “recommended” rating needs to be quite high to stand a chance of acceptance for new, popular books.
 

Mediocre Site

If I’m completely honest, I just don’t think the site is all that great.
In the time I have been using it, there have been no changes, no updates… just the same, uninteresting userface since day one. What also surprises me is that there isn’t an app. Whilst compulsive downloaders may think this a blessing in disguise… I think an app would make using the service far more convenient. I’d be more likely to take note of what is available if it were presented in a more approachable, on-the-go format.
 

Rating

Am I a bad book blogger because I don’t reach the 80% recommended rating? No, I’m not.
Referring back to my first point, I read a lot of different books; some I have bought, others I have been gifted or provided with a copy in exchange for a review by authors/publishers directly. Some are even borrowed, the old fashioned way, from a library. Should I be punished for being a diverse reader and having multiple sources of books? I don’t think so, and yet I feel in order to gain a respectful rating and backing as a Netgalley reader, I’d have to read their books alone for months.
MONTHS!!!!
 

Badges

Badges look cute, sure, but do they serve much of a purpose? Again, am I a bad blogger because I haven’t earned many? I don’t think so.
From what I have seen, the vast majority of badges are awarded for quantity as opposed to quality. I suppose it’s a great tool for authors to identify that a blogger is active and reliable… but I think the best way for a blogger to sell themselves is via the content they publish on their own site.
 

Book Offering

Lastly, and most importantly, I just haven’t been enamoured by the books I have downloaded and read so far.
I know publishers do release review copies of both new and popular titles via Netgalley, but with my profile being as small and limited as it is, a request for these books would probably have me laughed out of the door.
Given the relationships I have established with publishers directly, by providing links to my blog alongside requests, I think I would have far more of a chance of obtaining review copies of titles without using a service like Netgalley at all.
 


 
If you love and use Netgalley all the time, then hats off to you. I hope you continue to enjoy the free books on offer.
I have two books left to read and review; both of which are scheduled soon. Writing this post and mulling over the reasons I don’t like the site has convinced me to close my account once I have reviewed the books I have outstanding.
If I have the means to enjoy reading in other forms, then why would I not allow other readers the chance to use the service and enjoy a hobby when they may not have the resources I do. I would much rather lend the opportunity to someone else when I don’t enjoy it at all.
Am I being unduly unfair? Do you use sites like Netgalley? What are your thoughts?
Rebecca mono
 

Blog Tour – The Ghost of Glendale by Natalie Kleinman

Good morning everyone!
I am delighted to be taking part in a Blog Tour today for The Ghost of Glendale, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. Unfortunately due to my reading schedule I wasn’t able to read and review this title today, but I would encourage anyone interested in the book to check out the other stops on the tour!

About the Book

Ghost-EBOOK-cvr TGoG (3 MB)

At twenty-four years old, Phoebe Marcham is resigned to spinsterhood, unwilling to settle for anything less than the deep love her parents had shared. That is, until adventurer Duncan Armstrong rides into her home wood, larger than life and with laughter in his eyes and more charm in his little finger than anyone she’s ever met before. Far from ridiculing her family ghost, Duncan resolves to help solve the mystery which has left Simon Marcham a spirit in torment for two hundred years.

About the Author

Natalie is a published novelist and short story writer whose addiction to the books of Georgette Heyer and love of The Regency have been the inspiration for her latest book,Natale Kleinman - Author Photo The Ghost of Glendale.
Working on the premise that you never stop learning, she goes to any and every writing event and workshop she can. In addition she attends The Write Place Creative Writing School in Hextable in Kent, one of the rewards for which is an abundant supply of cream cakes to celebrate the frequent successes of its students.
Natalie is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists. She lives with her husband in southeast London.

Blog      Twitter      Facebook

If you would like to find out more about the book, or if you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can do so via Amazon.
Don’t forget, there are a number of lovely blogs involved in the tour so please check out their posts and their thoughts about The Ghost of Glendale.
The Ghost of Glendale Full Banner
 

Sunday Summary – 15th April 2018

Good morning everyone!!
My Sunday Summary is coming to you a wee bit earlier today, as I have forcefully dragged myself out of bed to do so. I had a really exciting week – and not of it is all about the books! My sister is visiting from Uni this weekend for a family occasion, so I have been off work for a few days (always a bonus!) So, I have gotten out of bed RIDICULOUSLY early is for two reasons;

  • to make sure you wonderful fellows get this lovely update post from me before I go back to visiting my family. As Sunday Summary posts are the most popular on my site, I’d be foolish not to make one;
  • I have had so many lie-ins over the past few days – if I had another one today, I would not sleep AT ALL tonight and I would be dead when I get back to work tomorrow (I probably will be anyway, sigh).

 
So aside from family… what has been going on this week?
Well, knowing that I was going to be preoccupied with family for the latter stages of the week, I prepared and posted an audiobook review of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins on Wednesday. Also, in the spur of the moment last week I said I would publish a post about my favourite Terry Pratchett quotes from the book so far, but admittedly I haven’t done this yet. I actually found a post I wrote a while ago – Top 5 Inspirational Quotes by Terry Pratchett. If you feel you are missing out, you could always check this post out? Sorry guys… maybe I can get this post to you next week. My schedule has been thrown off somewhat, but I’ll be back to the daily grind next week!!! (yay…)
On a cheerier note, let’s take a look at what I have been reading this week!
 

Books Read


 
When I left you last week, I had read about 75% of Soul Music by Terry Pratchett; finishing this book was how I kicked off my week. I love Pratchett’s humour and easy writing style, so whilst this wasn’t my favourite book of the series, it still made for an enjoyable read.
Next I started reading The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith, and this book picks up the story where Taita left off in River God – only thousands of years into the future (modern day, to us folks). Royan and Duraid are trying to decipher the enigma Taita has left for them (the location of the tomb of Mamose), when disaster strikes. I wasn’t sure I would take to this change of perspective very well, but actually it isn’t as difficult to adjust to as I thought. I’ve only made a fledgling start on the book really, with my progress at 13%, but we have to start somewhere, right?
A couple of days into reading The Seventh Scroll I became conscious that time is not on my side this month. I have some pretty big reads ahead so I wanted to up my game. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne is also a library loan and I didn’t want to incur any fees for running over term on this one. Being only a couple of hundred pages long, I thought this would be a perfect speed read and would make me feel I am making progress. I finished this late last night. When I committed to reading the book I fully expected it would make me cry… but I didn’t! I love that it is written in such a way that you know what is going on, based on prior knowledge, but not in a harsh way.
Lastly, also on the slightly morbid subject, I have made more progress on listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. I am about half-way through this audiobook now, if memory serves, so I imagine this will be finished by the end of the month. Despite the content matter, I am really enjoying this book! Aren’t I such a cheery soul?
 

Books Discovered

This is a rare occasion indeed, for I have absolutely NOTHING to report this week! I’ve spent too much time playing Minecraft to look for new books this week…
Not that it’s a bad thing necessarily, I have more than enough to read. Yes, I’ve re-discovered my love of Minecraft lately… although I’m not particularly sure what’s brought it on. I’ve also been watching a lot of videos on YouTube…
Guys – I may have a problem, haha!
 

Coming Up…

So, normal scheduling resumes from next week.
On Wednesday, I will publish my review of my latest Netgalley read, Ekata: Fall of Darkness by Dominique Law.
I am going to write the post about my favourite Terry Pratchett quotes. Usually (I’ve noticed), if I don’t commit to a day that I’ll publish a post, it means I’m not sure I’ll get around to it. I shouldn’t do that really, so I’ll commit to a day. Let’s say Thursday.
Have you got anything exciting lined up for next week?
Rebecca mono

Sunday Summary – 8th April 2018

Happy Sunday!
How has everyone’s week been? Mine has been pretty good overall! It got off to the best start with a bank holiday too – what a shame!

Source: Giphy
Source: Giphy

Okay, a little optimistic perhaps! But not having to get up at 6:45am is a win – right?
I took the opportunity to publish my Reading List for April on Monday, which I have been looking forward to sharing with you. This month I am switching it up a little and instead of reading a mixture of ARC’s and traditionally published books… the intention was to give the ARC’s a wee break. Then I received an ARC I requested which changed the plan SLIGHTLY. Just a little bit, okay? I broke the ARC-only plan for March with Strange The Dreamer, so it’s all good!
Speaking of which, I published my review of this amazing book on Wednesday! I can’t wait until October for Muse of Nightmares! If you haven’t checked out my review yet, you can find a cheeky little link here.
 

Books Read


 
I finally finished reading Ekata: Fall of Darkness by Dominique Law at the beginning of this week. I mentioned in my previous Sunday Summary that I was struggling with this book. The situation of the relations between characters got a little better, enough to finish the book.
Next, I picked up Soul Music by Terry Pratchett. At the time of writing this post I am 74% through the book. I am enjoying the book, but I don’t think it is going to be one of my favourites of the series. That being said, there are some great quotes I have pulled out of this one. My favourite has to be this one:-

‘Glod Glodsson,’ said the dwarf. ‘You just play the harp?’
‘Anything with strings on it,’ said Imp. ‘But the harp is the queen of instruments, see.’
‘I can blow anything,’ said Glod.
‘Realllly?’ said Imp. He sought for some polite comment. ‘That must make you very popullar.’

Such is Pratchett’s humour. Sure, there are more sophisticated quotes about the nature of existence and suchlike, but when it comes down to it, it’s these quotes I find the funniest! All the quotes I come across on my Kindle are shared on Goodreads, so if you want to look at any others, you could read them there!
Lastly, I started my next audiobook this week. I am listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. The story so far is both compelling and harrowing in equal measure. It is awful to think that people were actually forced to lived in concentration camps and were treated no better than cattle. Between this and The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, a book I am reading later in the month, you can tell I enjoy historical fiction. It’s a morbid month in terms of subject matter!
 

Books Discovered


 
It’s a very Pratchett week! I received an e-mail from Bookbub to tell me that The Fifth Elephant (Book 24) of the series was on sale, so I bought it! I already know I’ll be reading it at some point, so it was a no-brainer!
The Foes Between Us by J M Robison is a pre-order. I was introduced to the author when I read The War Queen for her in exchange for a review! As I really enjoyed this book and I want to support her, I pre-ordered this next one!
 

Coming Up..

I listened to The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins back in February, so I will be sharing my thoughts on this audiobook with you on Wednesday! I am catching up with myself on the books/ebooks I am reading, so I am going to give myself some breathing room by reviewing this for this week!
Writing this post has inspired me to write another one, so later in the week I am going to share my Top 5 Terry Pratchett quotes from the books I have read so far!
Until next time!
Rebecca mono
 

Sunday Summary – 1st April 2018

Happy Easter everybody!!
I hope everybody is having a good day today – religious or no. Me? I’m just looking forward to scoffing my Easter Eggs. I only expected to get one from my Mum and Dad, so I treated myself to one too. I was then unexpectedly gifted four more… haha!
I won’t be eating them in one go – that’s for sure!
I didn’t post as much as I thought I was going to this week. I had anticipated to share a Blogger Recognition Award (which is still sat in Drafts as we speak) as well as my Review of Beowulf. I am determined to finish the Recognition post tonight – it is nearly there!
March is now officially over and I didn’t finish read as many books as I had hoped to. The last book on March’s TBR, The Mansions of Murder, remains unread, so I’ll have to pick that up another day.
 

Books Read


 
I have really struggled with Ekata: Fall of Darkness by Dominique Law this week. I would say this book is definitely targeted at a Young Adult audience, which I don’t have a problem with overly. For my taste though, the plot isn’t really all that sophisticated. If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen a poll I posted about what people think of “unnecessary” love interests in books. I think in this book it really is that.
Asher and Alexis have quite clearly fallen for each other and I am just really uncomfortable with it. If I were to find out my life to date had all been a lie and I was whisked off to save a planet I didn’t even know existed – I WOULD NOT BE THINKING ABOUT HOW ATTRACTIVE THE GUY IS!!!
Ahem.
I nearly DNF’s this book this week. It just got progressively worse and worse until blessedly, the two end up separated for a little while. That made the book more bearable. I’m at 83% now, so I think I’ll read it through to the end. It won’t be topping my list for great books though, it has taken me way too long to struggle through.
On a positive note, I finished An Almond for A Parrot this week! It had a happier ending than I thought it would as well, which is also a bonus! I’ll have to review it here sometime; it was a fantastic audiobook!
 

Books Discovered


I saw Everless available at a discount on Bookbub this week and I loved the synopsis. I didn’t have to think about it too hard!
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson – oh my gosh I almost had a fit when I saw this was reduced for a limited time too! Steelheart has already been on my TBR for a while so I bought this one without hesitation too.
My most exciting acquisition of the week is Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio. I contacted Gollancz to find out if they had any review copies available and would consider sending one to me in exchange for a review. I picked the book up from the Post Office yesterday and I am so excited to read it! I was completely surprised when Gollancz said yes to my request. It is the first I have made and I fully expected a “thanks for your interest, but…” kind of email. I didn’t dare believe it until the book was in my possession and now it is!
Thank you Gollancz!
 

Coming Up…

Tonight I am going to share that Recognition Award post – and that is a promise! Sorry I have kept hold of that one for so long and promised to post it!
Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my Reading List for April. This month I did something a little different in dedicating the month to ARC’s. In April, I am doing the opposite! I want to catch up on some of the traditionally published books I love and have been looking forward to for some time. Check out my post tomorrow to find out what I am going to be reading this month!
On Wednesday, I am reviewing Strange the Dreamer, and I seriously can’t wait!! Just thinking about how amazing the book was makes me want to read it all over again!
 
What are you reading in April?
Rebecca mono