Tag: books

Throwback Thursday Review: The Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini

Today’s Throwback Thursday review of the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini is going to be a mixed bag. It’s a series I started and loved in the beginning, but ultimately I have DNF’d it.

 

Goodreads – Eragon

Goodreads – Eldest

Goodreads – Brisingr

Goodreads – Inheritance

Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands. . . .

 

My Thoughts…

I started reading Eragon whilst I was at school. I have a particular friend whom I aspired to be like at school. She was into the same books as me – in fact, it was unusual to meet her without a book in hand. (She is also the person who introduced me to Terry Pratchett, I might add).

I had seen her reading Eragon before I had picked it up, so naturally, I had to read it too! I loved the fantasy element of the book; at that time, the young-boy-coming-of-age trope was still exciting. And who doesn’t love dragons?!

If you don’t… you have no soul. Just saying.

I really enjoyed reading the first book; it is magical – and the worldbuilding! I found it very immersive.

I would say that Eragon is a book that I read in my bookworm infancy. At that point, I hadn’t really refined my preferences. I was drinking up everything I could. By the time I got around to Eldest, though, I had started to formulate my own ideas of what I liked and what I didn’t. It’s not that I didn’t like Eldest particularly, I did. I have fond memories of ignoring my duties of supervising younger kids during break and being stood next to a radiator with these books instead. Much more fun, yes?

So, what do I think went wrong?

If I am 100% honest, I think I just outgrew these books. I recall finding the second book immature in the plot and writing style. Frustration peaked because I feel the book could have been better. I wanted to like it, but I couldn’t get past the barrier that presented itself.

I haven’t attempted Brisingr or Inheritance because I don’t think I can bring myself to. The plot is well and truly lost to me so I would be back at square one, with far less appreciation for the tropes it relies on. I don’t think I will enjoy it and I don’t think I need a better reason to not read these books. If we cannot take enjoyment out of reading, then what is the point?

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 25th November 2018

Hi guys!

So, some of you may have noticed that I didn’t publish a Sunday Summary post last week. More than likely… no one noticed at all! That’s okay though, I spent some great time with family and got some Christmas shopping done!

Yes, I said it. Christmas. Shopping.

I may have bought myself one or two things whilst away… you know, strictly one or two.

 

I am also a little late in publishing this one. Sorry guys! Unless you have a death wish, going back into the office without treats after a holiday is a dangerous affair. It’s all stares and disgruntled mutterings but you just know you have that black mark against your name. In fairness, it hasn’t been a great week there (not because I wasn’t there – I don’t think THAT MUCH of myself), so I decided to do the best thing I could and baked.

You can see the picture on my instagram – they went down a treat at work. Brownie points for Rebecca!

 

So, personal life antics aside… what else have I been up to?

Well, skipping back over the last couple of weeks, I published a review of Frankenstein that was much overdue. I found myself in a little bit of a writing slump, so I can’t say I’m overly thrilled with the review. It passes (I hope)… but it certainly isn’t my finest work.

I also put together a review for Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor! Whilst I was away I had a couple of hours to myself… so I put them to good use. I really enjoyed reading Muse of Nightmares because there is so much more to it than Strange the Dreamer. I expected the book to be different, I’ll add, but the actual story is far better than I could have EVER imagined. Read it. Seriously.

After getting back home from my jollidays, (yes, I really did just say that) I decided to review the TBR again in another Down the TBR Hole post. It’s the sort of thing that you really need to keep on top of, so I like to chip away at it. By that, I really mean that I try to break even. I keep adding new books to the list all the time!

 

Books Read

My time off work this month has been a lot busier than last month, so I haven’t gotten as much reading done. I have made more progress with reading A Game of Thrones. Having looked back at my last Sunday Summary post, I’ve actually read more than I thought! I have jumped from just less than 50% to 88%. I managed to fit a bit of reading in whilst commuting on my trip, but never really for any length of time. Since I have nearly finished this book, I am going to try to finish it tonight – tomorrow at the latest!

Before my trip away, I was also reading Season of Storms by Andrzej Sapkowski. I don’t really feel I have made a lot of progress with this book so far. I’m finding the pacing to be a little slow at the moment, but it should pick up in time. I haven’t actually touched this book since my return yet; I’ll have another bash at it once A Game of Thrones is ticked off the list.

In the times where a lighter read was required, I have been reading I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. I have actually read part of this book before; I borrowed it from my school library years ago! It definitely has the laugh out loud humour I’ve needed. The other two books make for quite heavy reading, so needing a break is not unreasonable. I don’t normally read contemporaries/women’s literature. I have to be in the mood for it. I’ve managed just over a hundred pages last week alone, so that isn’t such bad going either.

 

Books Discovered

My self-imposed book ban is now OVER!!!! Thank goodness for that! I was restraining myself knowing that November was going to be an expensive month. Now it’s over, I can spend however much I like on books hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!

Obviously, that’s a lie. I haven’t finished Christmas shopping yet so I shouldn’t celebrate too early. But, I don’t have flights, hotels, food and spending money to worry about… so I can breathe a little easier.

On Tuesday, the last day of my trip, I decided to use some of my leftover budget to get myself a copy of Fire and Blood. It was publishing Day and half price. The illustrations are beautiful and so is Martin’s writing. I’d have to be daft not too!

 

Coming Up…

It will be good to finally get things back on track! Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time! I hope to be able to go away and see my sister again before too long. But, it’s nice to get back to the familiar, to get back into routine.

So, what am I posting on my blog this week? Well, this week I want to write another Throwback Thursday Review. I started this series so I had the chance to feature books read prior to starting my blog. They have all played their part in making me the bookworm I am today, so it makes sense to make a space for them here. This week’s post will be a mixed review because it is a series I loved initially, but have stopped reading.

 

In terms of reading progress, I am pushing to finish A Game of Thrones tonight. At the latest, I want to finish this tomorrow.  I am also going to try and finish I Don’t Know How She Does It, because I need to start my next read for an upcoming Blog Tour.

How has your week been? What have you been reading?

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #16

Hi friends! I am back from my brief trip away and I am officially back in the blogging game! Isn’t it weird that you can miss it after only a few days? I decided it is time for another Down the TBR hole post – it is always good to review the TBR and personally, it makes for an easy post to get back into the swing of things!

To recap, the meme was 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 ten books on my list!

The Birth of Death – Joseph Macolino

Goodreads – The Birth of Death

Artimus, the head investigator for the elvish kingdom of Erathal, is disturbed when he discovers that the culprit behind a recent string of kidnappings presents the greatest threat the world of Evorath has ever seen. As he develops feelings for Savannah, a beautiful elvish druid hiding a great secret, he struggles to separate his personal feelings from his responsibilities to the crown. Meanwhile, Irontail, a young centaur warrior, endeavors to find his way in a tribe where independent thought is discouraged.

When their paths cross, the entire forest must unite, performing an ancient ritual to combat this new evil. While the world of Evorath deals with this great threat, Artimus and his companions must put their internal conflicts to rest as they work together to combat this harbinger of death. As they work towards this common goal, they find that they each have their own, unique gifts to offer. But, will they be strong enough to survive?

The first of many stories taking place in the world of Evorath, this series gives readers the thrill of an epic fantasy while introducing characters who are struggling to balance the demands of society with their own personal desires. One thing is for sure: at the end of it all, nothing will be the same.

If memory serves, I think I stumbled upon this particular book through Twitter. I added it to the TBR as the world of Evorath is a high-fantasy setting. As I hadn’t heard of it before, I thought to give it a try.

A year on, I admit I am less enthusiastic. I have read so many excellent books in this genre – I’m not sure that it will live up to expectations. That isn’t the nicest thing to say I know, but I am only being honest. It’s also not quite the style of fantasy I like; last year I was willing to give it a chance despite that, but I’ve changed my mind.

Verdict: Bin

Thirteen – Steve Cavanagh

Goodreads – Thirteen

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone who follows by blog or social media accounts will know that I actually bought my copy of this recently. It’s a definite keeper. I don’t think I have come across a book with a premise like it. It is scary and unnerving… and that’s BEFORE I’ve read it!

Verdict: Keep

The Traveler –Fredric Shernoff

Goodreads – The Traveler

When your alter-ego comes out of time to hunt you.

Dan Wells is a normal guy with a dysfunctional marriage and a job he hates. Like many others, he spends much time thinking about the past and what he could have done differently. When he discovers his ability to time travel, Dan wins a chance to revisit his past and alter his life’s development. But a fatal mistake triggers a murderous chain reaction that threatens to ruin his life forever.

A fun, scary and sophisticated game of reflections and doppelgangers

Now, Daniel will have to dive deeper into time and try to make things right. But when he meets the beautiful Suzy will he turn his back on the present?

Action, romance and destiny merge in an intense and readable time-travel novel like you have never read before

Fredric Shernoff, author of Atlantic Island, has created a new and brilliant spin on the time- travel genre and sends his readers into a nuanced drama in a gripping sci-fi universe. Enjoy this thought-provoking time-travel romance that grabs you, excites you and asks the question: If you found in your past what you missed in your present, would you abandon your real life forever?

I am pretty sure I added this book as I have been trying to read more in the way of science-fiction… on the subject of time travel particularly. Having re-read the synopsis, I find myself say on the fence. I like the topic of time-travel, but it can be confusing at times. Knowing there are going to be multiple versions of characters makes me wary… I’ll admit. I like the idea, but as I have so many books on the TBR, I’m making the call that anything not jumping out at me is getting taken off the list. So many books and too little time. All that jazz.

Verdict: Bin

The Good Samaritan – John Marrs

Goodreads – The Good Samaritan

She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.

But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?

The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…

Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.

As soon as I read the synopsis for this book, I was hooked! As with Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh, there is just something creepy about sinister characters in roles that are perceived as being in positions of trust. It’s unnerving and equally intriguing. So much so, this is definitely staying on the TBR.

Verdict: Keep

Sleepyhead – Mark Billingham

Goodreads – Sleepyhead

Detective Inspector Tom Thorne now knows that three murdered young women were a killer’s mistakes — and that Alison was his triumph. And unless Thorne can enter the mind of a brilliant madman — a frighteningly elusive fiend who enjoys toying with the police as much as he savors his sick obsession — Alison Willetts will not be the last victim consigned forever to a hideous waking hell.

Already an international bestseller, Mark Billingham’s “Sleepyhead” is a chilling masterwork of crime fiction — a boldly original experiment in terror that will beget dark dreams and sleepless nights.

There are quite a few crime-related books on my list, I’ve noticed. I really enjoy reading psychological thrillers and the like; trying to figure out the identity or motive of the killer. It’s rare that I come to the right conclusion, but that is half the excitement! I definitely still want to read this one – I want to see what happens to Alison.

Verdict: Keep

A Suitable Lie – Michael J. Malone

Goodreads – A Suitable Lie

Some secrets should never be kept. . . .

Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match . . . and she loves his son like he is her own. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything. A brave, deeply moving, page-turning psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s finest crime writers, exploring the lengths people will go to hide their deepest secrets, even if it kills them.

Mind games again… definitely a common theme here. I added these books to the list within a reasonably short timeframe… so I was obviously particularly inspired at that time.

Again, this is definitely another book staying on the list!

Verdict: Keep

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Words of Radiance

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.

There is absolutely no doubt on this one – I didn’t have to read the synopsis to determine that.

I added Words of Radiance to the list after reading (and reviewing) The Way of Kings last year. They are epic books to be sure, but thoroughly absorbing. I’d go so far as to say the book easily qualifies in my top 5 of last year. Were Brandon Sanderson further into publishing this series I would have already read Words of Radiance… but I am trying to pace myself. I’ll only land myself with a long wait for the rest of the series otherwise. Patience, Rebecca.

Verdict: Keep

Too Like the Lightning – Ada Palmer

Goodreads – Too Like The Lightning

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer – a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world’s population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destablize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life…

I requested an ARC copy of this book on Netgalley last year, however, my request wasn’t approved. It was disappointing, but I decided I would still add the book to my TBR for a future date.

Now, I’m going to take it off again. Its dystopian nature appealed to me originally, but now I am not so confident that the element of magic is going to work well within the genre.

Verdict: Bin

Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames

Goodreads -Kings of The Wyld

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld.

Part of me thinks and hopes this book has the potential to be very comical, and reviews reinforce that. I’m still sat on the fence with this one though. As with my verdict earlier, if it doesn’t grab me, it goes.

Verdict: Bin

The Iron King – Maurice Druon

Goodreads – The Iron King

From the publishers that brought you A Game of Thrones comes the series that inspired George R.R. Martin’s epic work.

France became a great nation under Philip the Fair – but it was a greatness achieved at the expense of her people, for his was a reign characterized by violence, the scandalous adulteries of his daughters-in-law, and the triumph of royal authority.

Even ignoring the claims that this series inspired A Game of Thrones, I know I’ll enjoy this book for being historical fiction anyway. That it also has ties to the Game of Thrones story is just an added bonus. I already have an e-copy of this book ready. That, I feel, says it all.

Verdict: Keep

So, that is four books being taken off of the list. That’s probably a record for me. Have you read any of the books on my list? Do you agree with my choices? Let me know in the comments!

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Authors

Any reader will tell you that over time, you will discover favourite authors.

Whether entrusting them to guide you through a lesser favoured genre, or you love their writing style, every author and their novels are different experiences for each of us.

I have been reading for many years, branching out more recently to try new books, authors and genres. Based on that, here are my Top Ten Favourite Authors:-

 

Stephen King

The Green Mile was the first book I picked up by Stephen King… and it kindled a real love for his writing. I have since gone on to read Pet Sematary, IT, The Gunslinger (book 1) and listen to The Stand as an audiobook. I have loved each and every one. Obviously The Green Mile is a little different to the majority of his writing. If anything, introducing myself to this author with this book made it easier for me to step into reading horror. It’s a genre I never thought I would like, but I have been proven wrong.

 

 

 

JK Rowling

It would have been criminal not to include J K Rowling on this list. I grew up with the Harry Potter books. They will forever be cemented as a part of my childhood/teen years. I read the last book of the series on holiday as a teenager – I think it was the last year I took physical books on holiday. I must have had four or five books in the suitcase (at least two were hardback; the weight must have been half books). This was the last book I was reading, and it was so good, I physically couldn’t put it down to pack the case to go home.

These will definitely need a re-read in the future!

 

 

Brandon Sanderson

Having read and LOVED the first Mistborn trilogy, I went on to read The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archives). I thought it would be difficult for Sanderson to best those books, but he did. It is taking all my efforts not to binge read the other two books that begin the series. Otherwise, I will be in for a VERY LONG WAIT for the remaining seven.

I am at the point now where I have added more of his books, just because they are his. I don’t know too much about them, but I am willing to give them a try regardless.

 

 

Laini Taylor

I have only read one of Laini Taylor’s books so far. I think it speaks volumes that I read the book outside of my TBR… and very quickly. I’ve also pre-ordered Muse of Nightmares ready for its release in October. Her writing is beautiful, her characters adorable and I just want more! I’ve also added Daughter of Smoke and Bone to the reading list because I loved Strange the Dreamer so much. This book also seems to have a lot of love, so I can’t wait to read this!

 

 

 

Terry Pratchett

I have become a Discworld nerd… that’s for sure. One of my friends in particular had read Pratchett’s work and raved about him a lot. I didn’t really get into the idea… but I think that is because she usually talked about it to one of her other friends. Let’s just say the friendship isn’t mutual and leave it there.

It’s bad that I let that reason put me off trying the books. I regret it now… but better late to the party than never, yes?

 

 

Terry Goodkind

I began reading the Sword of Truth series as a teenager, thanks to stumbling across Wizard’s First Rule in the school library. I’ll admit, since leaving school I haven’t really made much further progress with these books. That doesn’t mean I don’t intend to though! I love the characters and the world-building, but most importantly, the writing style. I think I am part way through book 5 of the series. I’ll have to give myself a re-cap and start that one again probably.

 

 

 

Bernard Cornwell

It is one of the rare occasions in which I had watched The Last Kingdom before I discovered it was based on a book series. When unveiling this “grand revelation” to a colleague who I knew had also watched the series… it turned out not to be a revelation to her at all. My disappointment at her knowing this already was short-lived, however, as she loaned me a copy of the book.

The rest, as they say, is history. Excuse the pun.

I have only read the first four books of the series so far, but Bernard Cornwell has plenty of other works. Irrespective of whether I have an established interest in the historical period they are based in already, I’ll read them anyway.

 

J. R. R. Tolkien

I don’t think I need to go into any particular detail when telling you which books this author is famous for. If you don’t know, then I wonder which rock you have lived under all your life.

I have read the most famous books of his, with the exception of The Silmarillion. There are an ample number of books that are based about the characters and history of the main series though. I hope to go on to read some of those. Unlike the other authors, his work is a little less diverse, but that is no criticism. It must have taken a lot of time and effort to develop Middle Earth to be the fantastical realm it is today.

 

George R R Martin

George R. R. Martin has written many works in his time. Most notably is he known for the Song of Ice & Fire series, (aka A Game of Thrones to those not familiar), he developed a lot of his writing skill in producing short stories.

I read A Game of Thrones first, before I realised many of his short stories were in anthologies and other publications. I went on to read those based on my love of this series. All I knew was that he wrote science-fiction, and not much else. I love some of those stories though – the first that comes to mind is Sand Kings.

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that I will read pretty much anything this God of literature sees fit to put on paper. Whether my genre or not, I’ve enjoyed reading his works so far. Long may it continue!

 

Patrick Rothfuss

I cannot tell you how much I love this man’s series, The Kingkiller Chronicles. The narrative is beautiful. He is a master storyteller through and through.

I haven’t yet read anything else other than the above series… but the principle is the same. Patrick Rothfuss is basically an “auto buy” author. It doesn’t matter what he writes, I want it.

I’m quite intrigued by The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle series. These are in the format of children’s books… but are NOT children’s books. I am lead to believe they are quite dark, which I am curious to see. I must be a not-so-secret sadistic person!

 

 

Whose books do you love? Are there any authors you auto purchase books for? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 2nd September 2018

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Books Read

 

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

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

 

Books Discovered

 

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

*faints*

 

 

Coming Up…

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

 

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

 

Do we encourage children to read as much as we could?

It only takes one look at my blog to establish that I am a voracious reader. I haven’t always been so fanatical about it though. I’ve always enjoyed reading, even as a child, but it was only since the beginning of last year that I truly caught the book bug.

My mum and dad had been reading to me long before I could l talk. Granted, I probably spent a lot of the time either staring vacantly at the pictures or trying to snatch the book from them at first. All beginnings are humble ones. Whether conscious or not, children learn from the example set by adults – and who are they around more than their parents? Be it by direct interaction or just observing others;

 

babies are like sponges.

 

I am sure there are many parents out there that discovered this very quickly. My mum did too. I took my time in learning to crawl, which eventually progressed to walking. What I lacked in motivation to move, however, I made up for elsewhere. In particular, I was very good at picking up words – rude ones especially. I was caught muttering phrases like “oh for fuck’s sake” to myself many a time. Even when you think kids aren’t paying attention, they are – aren’t they mum?

Kids have amazing skill sets and they’re completely underestimated. They will unashamedly declare that they “SNIFFED BACK THEIR SNOT”, or that the person in front of you at the checkout smells, much to the amusement of any adult (quietly tittering to themselves) too polite/honest to say so. If they can pick upon such obvious things, it makes you wonder what else fails to escape their notice.

A child’s mind really starts to mature once they go to school (or alternative education). They are introduced to a world of small people, just like them. They are no longer the centre of attention. They have to share and make friends and find their place in the world. Most importantly of all though, they start to learn. In order to do that, they have to learn to read – and this is expected to be encouraged at home.  

 

But do we really do enough to encourage our children to read?

 

We have already established that reading is an integral part of learning, but are we setting the right example? Statistics would suggest, not exactly.

A YouGov study conducted in 2014 gave some interesting results when British adults were asked about their reading habits. The study includes quite a lot of information, including age demographic, gender and location. If you want to take a look at the results yourself, you can find them here:-

 

One of the most interesting points, in my opinion, was how nearly 50% of adults described themselves as either avid or regular readers. Note that this is entirely subjective, so we cannot really comment on or assess this piece of information. What I found most shocking though (as an avid reader I admit I am biased), was how many books most of those questioned reported to read. The most common answer was between 3 and 5 books.

 

What this means…

 

To get an idea of how this works out on a practical scale, I did some searching on Google. A rough estimate for average words per novel has been suggested at about 90,000 and the average reading speed at 300 words per minute. Let’s take those numbers and apply it to an adult who says they read the maximum number of books in that bracket (5). Do you know how many minutes a day an adult would have to read to hit this target over the course of a year?

Five. Only five minutes a day. 

Another, broader study also came to similar conclusions, reporting four books as the most common response given by a similar sample size of readers. This study, in contrast to the one quoted above, is American rather than British. You can find the link to the article here.

So, if the vast majority of parents are reading the equivalent of fewer than five minutes a day, is that really sending our children the right message? We all have our own families, commitments, and schedules. I am not trying to pass judgment here… only to make you ask yourself the following question:  

Could we do more to show children that reading is fun? Could we all read a little more to show that it is more than just a chore, or learning exercise? 

 

COVER REVEAL and GIVEAWAY – Ragis by Donna Migliaccio

Today, I am pleased to share the COVER REVEAL for Donna Migliaccio’s upcoming book, Ragis. In addition,  there is an pportunity to win your very own Gemeta stone! You can find further details on the giveaway below.

Ragis is the fourth installment in The Gemeta Stone series. Anyone who follows my blog may have seen a plethora of other posts I have produced on the series so far. I have really enjoyed reading the series to date, so I cannot wait to get hold of a copy of this!

If you are new to the series, you will find links to my reviews of the first few books below: –

Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio – Gemeta Stone #1

Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio – Gemeta Stone #2

StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio – Gemeta Stone #3

 

So, are you ready for the cover for Ragis?

Here it is! I hope you are as excited about the book launch next month as I am!

 

Ragis by Donna MigliaccioRagis

August 28, 2018

Fantasy

The Gemeta Stone Book 4

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC

 

Kristan Gemeta is teetering on the brink of madness.

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

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

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

 

I love the colour scheme for this cover as it differs quite a bit from the previous ones. What keeps it consistent with the others though, is the presence of the Gemeta Stone necklace around the title. I love covers that either coordinate or match. I really like how this series is easily identifiable by the similar format, yet having different backgrounds!

If, like me, you cannot wait for Ragis to be released, you can pre-order your copy via Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Kobo.

As well as the cover reveal, there is also a GIVEAWAY being hosted in honour of the new release! For your chance to win your very own Gemeta stone, follow the below link and instructions to enter!

Rafflecopter – Chance to win your own Gemeta Stone

Best of luck!

 


 

About the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres. 

She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker. 

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #12

It feels like ages since I last published a blog post. I am, of course, exaggerating. It has only been a week, but when you are normally drafting a post every 2-3 days, it’s odd going cold turkey.

As I am now back from my trip with family I am publishing another Down the TBR Hole post! For anyone unfamiliar, 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 History – Donna Tartt

The Secret History

Goodreads – The Secret History

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

The blurb for this book doesn’t really give away much as to the content of the book; rather, more about the nature of the scenario within. I think this could be both interesting and exciting, so it is staying on the list. I am also hoping that as a result of reading it, I can inspire myself back into reading more classics.

Verdict: Keep

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Goodreads – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

I am surprised this book only has a 3.9-star rating on Goodreads. I read a lot of reviews on the book from the blogging community and I distinctly remember a glowing report from all the posts I read. That’s what inspired me to add the book to the list in the first place.

I have read a few mystery/suspense books recently and really enjoyed them. The synopsis does a very good job of luring the reader in. I added this book to the TBR nearly a year ago to the day – and I am still attracted to it now.

Verdict: Keep

 

Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer

Letters to the Lost

Goodreads – Letters to the Lost

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

I’m torn about this one, I’ll admit. As before, the mystery element of their unknown connection to each other is intriguing, but on the other hand, I suspect it is going to end up as a romance… and that would be the straw to break the camel’s back. I don’t want to invest time and energy in reading this book to end up disappointed, so I am going to take it off the list.

Verdict: Bin!

 

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Caraval

Goodreads – Caraval

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

This book has been insanely popular for the past year. I’ve seen plenty of reviews for it. This is again why I added the book to the TBR. For much the same reason as Letters to the Lost, I am dubious of the book for the reliance on romance to maintain a storyline.

Had I not purchased a copy of the book already, I would have removed it from the list. As it happens, I did purchase a digital copy on sale, so I am as well giving it a try. I’m not holding my breath for a glowing review, but, only time will tell.

Verdict: Keep

 

Liath Luachra: The Grey One – Brian O’Sullivan

Liath Luachra

Goodreads – Liath Luachra: The Grey One

Ireland 188 A.D: A land of tribal affiliations, secret alliances and treacherous rivalries.

Youthful woman warrior Liath Luachra has survived two brutal years fighting with mercenary war party “The Friendly Ones” but now the winds are shifting.
Dispatched on a murderous errand where nothing is as it seems, she must survive a group of treacherous comrades, the unwanted advances of her battle leader and a personal history that might be her own undoing.

Clanless and friendless, she can count on nothing but her wits, her fighting skills and her natural ferocity to see her through.

Woman warrior, survivor, killer and future guardian to Irish hero Fionn mac Cumhaill – this is her story.

I don’t like to champion the concept of female warrior / “girl power” as exceptional or out of the ordinary too much. Empowerment should be equal in achievement irrespective of gender, but there are instances on both sides of the coin when this is not the case.

I was drawn to this book as it is a dark tale touching upon a number of sensitive issues. I purchased a copy of the book as soon as I read the synopsis, and I stand by my decision!

Verdict: Keep

 

Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots: A History of Insanity in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Ireland – Kathryn Burtinshaw & John Burt

Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

Goodreads – Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

In the first half of the nineteenth century, treatment of the mentally ill in Britain and Ireland underwent radical change. No longer manacled, chained and treated like wild animals, patient care was defined in law and medical understanding, and treatment of insanity developed.

Focusing on selected cases, this new study enables the reader to understand how progressively advancing attitudes and expectations affected decisions, leading to better legislation and medical practice throughout the century. Specific mental health conditions are discussed in detail and the treatments patients received are analyzed in an expert way. A clear view of why institutional asylums were established, their ethos for the treatment of patients, and how they were run as palaces rather than prisons giving moral therapy to those affected becomes apparent. The changing ways in which patients were treated, and altered societal views to the incarceration of the mentally ill, are explored. The book is thoroughly illustrated and contains images of patients and asylum staff never previously published, as well as firsthand accounts of life in a nineteenth-century asylum from a patients perspective.

Written for genealogists as well as historians, this book contains clear information concerning access to asylum records and other relevant primary sources and how to interpret their contents in a meaningful way.

I don’t have many non-fiction books on the TBR, and this one tickles my inner psychology nerd.

I studied psychology years ago and learned how the brain worked and treatments administered etc. As a part of that, we touched upon some of the treatments used or imposed on the “clinically insane”. I still want to read this book as a refresher to my previous knowledge… because I really do find the topic interesting! Psychology is often labelled a social science as there are no definite answers or treatments to a given problem. There are a number of different approaches to treating a condition and new research is constantly contributing to evolving these.

Verdict: Keep

 

Infinite Sacrifice – L. E. Waters

Infinite Sacrifice

Goodreads – Infinite Sacrifice

Maya’s shocked to discover it’s not the heaven she imagined; in fact, a life of adventure begins the moment you die.

Zachariah, her faithful spirit guide, explains the rules of the dead: in order to regain complete awareness and reunite with loved ones all souls must review their previous lives.

Maya plunges warily into her turbulent pasts as a sociopathic High Priest in ancient Egypt; an independent mother protecting a dangerous secret in glorious Sparta; an Irish boy kidnapped and enslaved by Vikings; and a doctor’s wife forced to make an ethical stand in plague-ridden England.

All the while, Maya yearns to be with those she cares about most and worries that she hasn’t learned all of heaven’s most vital lessons. Will she be forced to leave the tranquility of heaven to survive yet another painful and tumultuous life? Or worse, accept the bitter reality of having to go back alone?

This was added to my TBR because I was interested in the element of the afterlife. I am much undecided as to whether I believe in any of that at all. There are elements of history in this short read as well, spanning ancient Egypt to England in the 1300’s.

Again, as I have already purchased a copy of this book, I will take the time to read it. Had I not, I might have considered taking it off the TBR.

Verdict: Keep

 

Children of the Revolution – Peter Robinson

Children of the Revolution

Goodreads – Children of the Revolution

A disgraced college lecturer is found murdered with £5,000 in his pocket on a disused railway line near his home. Since being dismissed from his job for sexual misconduct four years previously, he has been living a poverty-stricken and hermit-like existence in this isolated spot.

The suspects range from several individuals at the college where he used to teach to a woman who knew the victim back in the early ’70s at Essex University, then a hotbed of political activism. When Banks receives a warning to step away from the case, he realises there is much more to the mystery than meets the eye – for there are plenty more skeletons to come out of the closet . . .

I recently read “Death in Dulwich” by Alice Castle, which is similar in setting. A school teacher is found dead on the grounds, and as the book unravels we learn of his not-so-innocent past. As I really enjoyed reading this one, I think this could be really interesting too. I’ll probably start the Inspector Banks series from the beginning before reading this though, so I won’t be reading it for a while to come.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Killer on the Wall – Emma Kavanagh

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17260972-children-of-the-revolution

Goodreads – The Killer on the Wall

The first body comes as a shock

The second brings horror

The third signals the beginning of a nightmare

When fifteen-year-old Isla Bell finds three bodies propped against Hadrian’s Wall, her whole world falls apart. In such a close-knit community, everyone knows the victims, and the man who did it.

Twenty years on and Isla has dedicated her life to forensic psychology; studying the brains of serial killers, and even coming face to face with the convicted murderer who turned her world upside down. She is safe after all, with him behind bars.

Then another body appears against the Wall.

And another.

As the nightmare returns and the body count rises, everyone in town is a suspect.

Who is the Killer on the Wall?

I have kept a lot of books on the TBR so far, and after reading the synopsis, I just don’t know. It does sound interesting, but it doesn’t quite pop out at me like the previous books on the list have.

I’m going to say no to this one.

Verdict: Bin

 

Daughter of the Burning City – Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning City

Goodreads – Daughter of the Burning City

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

I love how the premise of the book centers around a circus and the workings of illusion. Combine that with the element of murder/mystery and I’m hooked! This may also end up being a coming-of-age tale (given that the character is explicitly defined as a teenager). Not my favourite trope, but as it is so commonplace, I’ll just have to get on with it!

Verdict: Keep

 

So that is the next ten books on my list sorted! Have you read any of these books? As ever I would love to hear your thoughts!

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!