Tag: books

Top Ten Reads in 2018

Narrowing down a list of Top Ten Reads in 2018 was always going to be hard. How can you pick favourites?! It’s like asking a mother to pick a favourite child!

When I was getting a list together of the books I read in 2018 in order to make my choices, I made two discoveries: –

  • Goodreads hadn’t credited me for 4 books read, so I actually managed to read 50 books in 2018 instead of 46
  • Of those 50 books, I rated nearly half 5* ; only 7 books got a rating of 3* or less

 

 

Boy, don’t I make my life difficult…

It’s been tough and I’ve had to be brutal. I read a lot of amazing books in 2018 (as you would guess based on my VERY high ratings), but I had to narrow it down to 10. So, here are my Top Ten Reads of 2018! Where I have reviewed the book on my blog, links to my review posts can be followed by clicking on the images.

 

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Strange the Dreamer

Goodreads – Muse of Nightmares

 

Empire of Silence – Christopher Ruocchio

Empire of Silence

Goodreads – Empire of Silence

 

Children of Blood & Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood & Bone

Goodreads – Children of Blood & Bone

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

To be reviewed

Goodreads – A Game of Thrones

 

Blackwing & Ravencry – Ed McDonald

Goodreads – Blackwing

Goodreads – Ravencry

 

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne

Goodreads – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

 

The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

Goodreads – The Silent Patient

 

The Cathedral of Known Things – Edward Cox

To be reviewed

Goodreads- The Cathedral of Known Things

 

Did you read any of these books, and if so, how have you rated them? If you haven’t read them yet, are they on your list for 2019?

As ever, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #17

No sooner do I remove books from my TBR, I replace them with others. It is a never-ending battle… but I have to make some effort to get it under control, right? That’s what this post is all about!

I feel my previous Down The TBR Hole posts were getting a bit lengthy, so I am cutting the number of books I am reviewing from 10 down to 5.

To recap, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story and 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?

Let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby

Goodreads – The Kennedy Brothers

 

Eight years apart in age, John F. and Robert F. Kennedy were wildly different in temperament and sensibility. Jack was the leader — charismatic, ironic, capable of extraordinary growth and reach, yet also reckless. Bobby was the fearless, hardworking Boy Scout — unafraid of dirty work and ruthless about protecting his brother and destroying their enemies. Jack, it was said, was the first Irish Brahman, Bobby the last Irish Puritan.

As Richard D. Mahoney demonstrates with brilliant clarity in this impeccably documented, magisterial book, the Kennedys lived their days of power in dangerous, trackless territory. The revolution in Cuba had created a poisonous cauldron of conflicting interests. As attorney general, Bobby was determined to bring down Castro and the Mafia; it was during this mission that the very forces of crime he was trying to eradicate came into play.

The Mafia, and in particular the murderous and charming Johnny Rosselli, had been enlisted by the CIA to eliminate Castro. Bobby may have spearheaded an anti-Mafia crusade, but Joe and Jack had courted the mob during the 1960 presidential race. Blackmail and double-dealing were the order of the day. Achieving power meant compromising the best and brightest of ideals and entering into a Faustian bargain — as Bobby Kennedy discovered on November 22, 1963.

Mahoney gives us the Kennedy days and years as we have never before seen them. Here are Jack and Bobby in all their hubris and humanity, youthfulness and fatalism. Here, also, is American history as it unfolds. The Kennedy Brothers is a fresh and masterful account of two men whose legacy continues to hold the American imagination.

 

My Thoughts…

There is very much a historical theme to this post; I must have been in the mindset that I wanted to learn a lot more. I l already have an e-copy of this book, so I am definitely going to read it. The presidency of the US has never been a subject I have taken an interest in before, so reading this will be a new experience for me. In the past I have enjoyed something similar, however, focussing on a diplomatic visit to the USA by Nikita Khrushchev. The thought of a grown man having a tantrum because he can’t go to Disney World still makes me giggle now and then.

Verdict: Keep

 

Crown and Country: A History of England Through the Monarchy

Goodreads – Crown and Country

 

David Starkey looks at the monarchy as a whole, charting its history from Roman times, to the Wars of the Roses, the chaos of the Civil War, the fall of Charles I and Cromwell’s emergence as Lord Protector – all the way up until the Victorian era when Britain’s monarchs came face-to-face with modernity.

 

My Thoughts…

Book two in my apparent history crusade explores different tides – the British monarchy. Considering I am TECHNICALLY British (as Manx isn’t an official nationality), my knowledge of the monarchy is terrible. I spent my time in school learning about the world wars and the financial boom/depression of the US. The rulers of our country, past and present, are hardly touched upon. Isn’t that a little embarrassing? I’m rectifying that mistake by keeping this book on the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

Merchants of Virtue (The Huguenot Connection trilogy Book 1)

Goodreads – Merchants of Virtue

 

MERCHANTS OF VIRTUE follows a rich merchant family during of the repeal of religious tolerance by Louis XIV.

France 1685, Protestants fear for their lives following Louis the Greats revocation of their rights. Jeanne Delpech returns from her chateau to the Quercy capital to find her townhouse overrun by mercenary soldiers. The Sun Kings dragoons are given carte blanche to rob, beat, and commit atrocities to force Huguenots (French Protestants) to abjure their religion. Can Jeanne keep her children and her unborn baby without forsaking her faith?

A true story rich in historical detail, fast-moving action and powerful emotion.

 

My Thoughts…

I seem to be covering history from all angles here, as this book explores history and religion. When I first discovered this book I knew I had to read it. I came across it, courtesy of my Bookbub daily email with book deals on it and fell in love with the synopsis straightaway!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Saint’s Rise (Ignifer Cycle, #1)

Goodreads – The Saint’s Rise

 

No heroes endure…

Three thousand years ago the world fell into darkness, when the great black mouth of the Rot ravaged the land. Across the glorious library city of Aradabar its dark tongues hammered down, leveling the glass towers of learning and entombing the bookyards in a thick blanket of lava. Only a single child survived the devastation; an infant with a prophecy carved into his skin, promising the rise of a hero powerful enough to slay the Rot for good.

Now that child is a young man, beginning to question the meaning of his many scars…

Now those scars are hunted by a jealous King, ruler of a brutal industrial city, where a thousand bizarre castes toil away like slaves…

Now a dark beast is watching, an Unforgiven, seeking to fulfill a promise made long ago…

And now the Rot has returned, its great black mouth gaping large in the sky, bringing chaos and fear to a world where no heroes endure…

 

My Thoughts…

I actually saw this book on Bookbub again only a couple of days ago. The cover caught my eye because I recognized it! At least my TBR isn’t a complete blur in my mind!

I can’t resist a little Fantasy. Sure, it’s a bit cliché with its prophesied child hero and all that jazz, but it has good reviews and I’m in a good mood! It stays!

Verdict: Keep

 

The Incendium Plot (Christopher Radcliff, #1)

Goodreads – The Incendium Plot

 

England in 1572 is a powder keg of rumour, fanaticism, treachery and dissent. All it would take is a single spark . . .

In the England of Elizabeth I, the fear of plague and invasion, and the threat of insurrection are constant. As the Earl of Leicester’s chief intelligencer, lawyer Dr Christopher Radcliff is tasked with investigating rumours of treachery at home and the papist threat from abroad. And with heresy and religious unrest simmering beneath the surface of a country on the brink, Radcliff is under pressure to get results.

Then two brutal and seemingly motiveless killings point alert Radcliff to the whisper of a new plot against the queen. There are few clues, and all he and his network of agents have to go on is a single word: incendium. But what does it mean – and who lies behind it? Christopher Radcliff must find out before it’s too late . . .

(Please note: The Incendium Plot was first published in hardback as Incendium)

 

My Thoughts…

This Down the TBR Hole post focuses on a number of historical fiction, but if there is one slightly different to the others… it’s this one.

The period The Incendium Plot is based on is more recent than my usual reads. Usually, I go for the Tudor period or even earlier to the Viking invasion of Britain. I know a little of the history of this event already, so I’m excited to see how the book portrays it all!

Verdict: Keep

Okay, so it appears I’m not getting rid of any books on this occasion. Sometimes that annoys me, (it is the point of the post after all), but equally I suppose I can be assured that the books on my TBR are of genuine interest.

Have you reviewed your TBR recently, or just added to it?

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday – 3 (+2) 2019 Book Releases

As it is a brand New Year, (okay, so we are over a week in… who cares?) I want to share with you some of the books I am really looking forward to reading this year! Usually, this is a weekly post, but I’m only really writing this as a one-off. Maybe I’ll pick it up more regularly in the future if it proves popular, so if you want to see it again, you need to let me know!

This series began as “Waiting On Wednesday” and hosted at Breaking the Spine.  However, the original creator is no longer able to host the meme and it has now linked up with Can’t Wait Wednesday, hosted at Wishful Endings.

So, which three 2019 releases am I looking forward to reading?

 

Children of Virtue & Vengeance – Tomi Adeyemi

Goodreads – Children of Virtue & Vengeance

Expected Publication Date: 5 March 2019

 

I really enjoyed reading Children of Blood & Bone last year. I love the magical elements of the book, in addition to its focus on ethnicity and oppression. It’s done in such a tasteful but poignant way. I would love the opportunity to read more books like this one!

 

Darkdawn – Jay Kristoff

Goodreads – Darkdawn

Expected Publication Date: 3 September 2019

 

I have listened to the first book of the series on Audible and I am part way through the second book. The world-building and history behind the main storyline are fantastic. These little details are dropped into the storyline that they don’t hinder the main action; if anything, they enhance it. If Book 3 is as good as Books 1&2, I don’t want the series to end!

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

Expected publication Date: 10 September 2019

 

The first time I read The Handmaid’s Tale, I wasn’t enamoured. I was young then (says my sagely 23 y/o self), but the second time I read it, I loved it! I have also come to really enjoy the recent TV show. I’m glad the book isn’t connected to that show. As similar as they are, the TV show is a close but modernised adaptation… not a dramatisation of the book. I also think the title is apt and I love the nod it gives to the Bible. It is in His name that society justifies the oppression of women, after all. I always wondered what happened to Offred. I never imagined it was anything good; now I get to find out!

 

Unconfimed Future Releases

I want to mention a couple of other books I am looking forward to, but these neither have expected release dates, nor do I expect one soon.

 

The Winds of Winter – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – The Winds of Winter

 

I am completely in love with the Song of Ice and Fire series. It’s one I will pick up again and again throughout my lifetime. I currently have e-book versions of the series, but eventually, I want to invest in physical copies. I am currently re-reading the series (A Clash of Kings at the moment) as the final season is on television this year! At last! I’m both excited and sad at the same time!

 

Doors of Stone – Patrick Rothfuss

Goodreads – Doors of Stone

 

This is another one of the best fantasy book series of all time. My favourite thing about them is the narration. I love the idea that cocky Kvothe gets brought down a peg or two by his experience and how unapologetic he is for that. We all make mistakes. It’s more fun to read someone else’s though!

When will these last two books be released? Does it matter when? No, not really. It makes me angry when I read “negative reviews” of a book which basically consist of people complaining about the wait for them to be published. Why do that? If you have loved a book series so much to follow it this far, then surely the next book is worth the wait!

Would you not feel cheated if an author gave into pressure and published a book earlier than planned and it didn’t live up to expectation? I sure would! I, for one, am more than happy to settle down and discover a few more new authors or start another series in the meantime. Irrespective of how much noise you make, the books will be ready when they are ready.

So go sit down with a cup of tea and read something else. Good things come to those who wait.

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary: 6th January 2019

Doesn’t the weekend, and the end of it, roll around all too quickly! The first week of the New Year is over… has anyone broken their resolutions yet?

I wrote about my New Year’s Resolutions earlier this week, as well as giving details of this month’s planned reading list. If you haven’t checked that out already, it would be really awesome if you do! I’d also like to know what resolutions you have set yourself! In addition to the resolutions on my post, I am also making a conscious effort to read more bookish blogs. I’ve fallen out of the habit, but even if I only take 20 minutes out of my day, that’s more than I am doing now. I have already read some fun, interesting resolutions posts; the best of luck to everyone in achieving your goals!

I have also written my first review of the year this week. It’s a review that I feel is overdue as I finished the book at the end of October last year. Unfortunately, I committed myself to a lot of blog tours in November. That’s why I have only gotten around to reviewing The Swan Keeper by Milana Marsenich now. This is the second book I have reviewed of hers, the first being Copper Sky. It was lovely that she contacted me to tell me what a pleasant surprise it was to see my thoughts on the book.

So, what have I been reading this week?

 

Books Read

 

It’s been a little while since I’ve been able to lend a mention to three books in this section! Maybe all this New Year, new me lark does mean something after all. No harm in a fresh start. My first mention is going to be brief though – in last week’s Sunday Summary post I promised to finish The Cathedral of Known Things before bed… and I did.

The majority of my reading time this week has been invested in The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire. I had started the book in December but forgot to add it to my Goodreads and update my progress. So, on the 1st of January when I wrote my reading list, I confidently updated my progress without checking because I was convinced I was 46% through the book. Turns out, I had only read 31%. I had a bit more reading to do than I thought, but never mind. I still managed to finish the book on Friday night, so I’m happy.

This weekend, I have been reading Black Matter by G. D. Parker. I am reviewing the book later this month as part of the organised blog tour. I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure where the plot was going when I first started this book. The synopsis is quite vague in detail, but now I am hooked. I read the first 40% in one sitting and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the narrative unravels.

 

Books Discovered

After kicking myself back into the blog reading action, I stumbled across a review for Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett. I am an awful person because after telling myself a HUNDRED times to save where the book recommendations come from so I can credit that person here… I haven’t. I’ve tried searching for it too, but no luck. Sorry!

The review discussed how the blogger enjoyed the political elements within the book. As I love the dynamic and intrigue from a political stance in novels such as the Song of Ice & Fire series by George R. R. Martin, I think I could really enjoy Onyx & Ivory.

 

Coming Up…

 

For the first time EVER, I am being sent on a business trip this week! Eek! I’m equally excited and nervous because I haven’t been to London since I was a child. How can I tell I am nervous? I’ve already started trying to look into trains and taking screenshots of maps etc. I’m a worrier, okay, but I’m sure I’ll be fine. It’s just a day trip, but I have to get up in the early hours of the morning night to get there, it’s going to be a long day! I’m sure I’ll enjoy it though!

Back to the bookish side of things, what posts are going live this week?

As we are fresh into the New Year, I feel it’s only appropriate to take a look at some of the books I am really looking forward to reading this year. This will be my first Can’t-Wait Wednesday post, so I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!

 

 

down the tbr holeA little later in the week, I am going to work on whittling down the TBR with another Down the TBR Hole post. It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t get the numbers down. I’m forever adding new books so it feels like I am chasing my own tail sometimes. At least I know I genuinely want to read the books on the list!

 

I want to make good progress on the reading front this week. My aim is to finish Black Matter within the next couple of days, as it is a relatively short read. Next, I’ll be moving on to reading You Can’t Make Old Friends by Tom Trott. This is the first book of the series, for which I am taking part in a blog tour next month. I am hopeful that I will have this one finished, or nearly finished, by the time I am writing my next Sunday Summary post.

 

That’s all from me for now folks! Don’t forget… I would love to hear what your New Year’s resolutions are! What are you reading to kick off 2019?

 

Blog Tour Review: Facing a Twisted Judgment – K J McGillick

I am really looking forward to today’s blog tour post for Facing a Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick. I was kindly invited to the tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. A massive thank you to both of you for enabling me to enjoy this thrilling read!

 

Purchase Links: Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk

Goodreads – Facing A Twisted Judgment

 

Synopsis

What happens when tunnel vision clouds a police investigation? Is it true that once you are labeled a person of interest you really are the prime suspect? Can you trust the legal system?  Probably not.

After a bitterly contested legal battle over inherited property, the hard-won art collection and its owner Samantha Bennington disappear. Both have vanished without a trace.

When blood spatter is discovered under the freshly painted wall of the room in which two of the paintings were hung, the theft becomes the opening act in a twisted tale of jealousy, revenge, and murder leading to a final judgment for all involved.

As the list of suspects narrows, the focus lands squarely on the husband. Some labeled Samantha’s husband a corrupt attorney, others an opportunist. Either way, he’s in the crosshairs of law enforcement and they are calling him a murderer. But is he the only viable suspect? What about the missing woman’s drug-addicted sister and her convicted felon brother? Both were furious over their loss at court and have more than enough reason to hate Samantha.

Guilty until proven innocent leaves Alexander Clarke facing a twisted judgment.

 

My Thoughts…

Give me a crime novel with any number of suspects and I’ll sit there and try to deduce my way through it like a very amateurish Poirot. The measure of a good crime novel is whether I THINK I’ve hacked it or not. As I said, I’m not very good at these things. I’m always wrong, but I enjoy the attempt nonetheless.

I was kept guessing throughout this book! I doubted everyone and everything I was told, trusting none of the characters…well, except Dalia. Was it truly the cold and calculating husband? Maybe it was the psycho sister or brother serving time for fraud. The investigation targets the husband very quickly and the evidence starts to mount up against him.

The narrative is clearly constructed from two perspectives; Dalia, employed by the company trying to recover several pieces of artwork valued at 130million dollars, and suspect number one himself. Dalia’s background as an attorney means she cannot help but take a natural interest in the disappearance of Samantha and subsequent investigation. Her narrative is balanced between developing her character and current events. Of all the characters in the book, I found Dalia to be the most authentic and relatable. As a newcomer to the team and the investigation, we unravel the mystery through her eyes.

Alex is far from a likable character, but his portrayal in the narrative is intriguing and wonderfully written. He is an attorney himself, but with a shady past, a long list of ex-wives and a cold/calculating demeanor, he is far from squeaky clean. When this newlywed’s wife goes missing along with some of her most valuable assets, Alex’s primary concern for the insurance claim on the artwork paints a sinister picture.

I loved reading the chapters from Alex’s perspective because I was intrigued by how emotionally detached he is as a person. Psychology is a subject that I been interested in since the age of 17; Alex makes an interesting test case. His almost split personality can turn at the flick of a switch. His need for control and ability to manipulate people is unnerving. When his wife plans to go against his wishes with the assets he helped her win in court, what lengths will he go to in order to get his way?

A concise narrative makes Facing A Twisted Judgment easy to pick up but hard to put down.

 

About the Author

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right?

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

Social Media Links – Facebook   Twitter @KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

 

 

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!