In today’s Throwback Thursday review post, I am going to be discussing a book that I have actually read twice before I began my blog.
I wouldn’t say I have much in common with my mum’s reading preferences, but, there is the odd book we have in common. I’ll only read anything my mum has read if there’s a good degree of humour in it. The Rag Nymph certainly didn’t disappoint in that respect!
In the heat of a late June afternoon in 1854, abandoned by a panic-stricken mother in an all-too-obvious flight from the law, Millie Forester bursts into Aggie Winkowski’s life like a bolt from the blue. Aggie, who was known locally as ‘Raggie Aggie’ for her long-established business of trading in rags and old clothes, knew well enough the dangers waiting for such a strikingly pretty girl left alone in this rough and vice-ridden quarter. She could see no alternative other than to take her in.
But what began as compassionate expediency led to a new relationship that would grow and deepen, moulding Millie’s destiny and giving new meaning to the life of Aggie Winkowski.
Millie Forester’s advance through the coming years to the threshold of womanhood is the core of The Rag Nymph, as gripping and socially concerned an historical novel as Catherine Cookson has ever written. Her superb skills of narrative and characterization provide a spectrum of the good and evil of the Victorian era, frankly confronting the terrible menace of child corruption, which remains a constant issue in our time now as it was then.
I think my enjoyment of this book stems from the Yorkshire heritage in my family. Raggie Aggie is so much like my mum, and her mum too, that standing in Millie’s shoes felt somewhat familiar. Aggie’s no-nonsense attitude is something I grew up with. The commonality was endearing. As hard-faced as Aggie can be (a product of growing up and scraping a living in difficult times), she is also a remarkably caring woman. She treats Millie as if she is her own and will protect her fiercely.
Millie, a pretty young girl and then woman finds herself attracting unwanted attention. Millie’s birth mother had fallen into the wrong hands and Aggie is determined that the same doesn’t happen to Millie. To this end, the content of the book isn’t all light humour. There is depravity and death, and folk with less-than-honest intentions.
I loved this book when I first read it years ago and I enjoyed it just as much second time around. The setting, the characters and the writing style are utterly brilliant. The book is from a genre I really enjoy reading and I don’t doubt that I’ll pick this up again in the future!
Well yes, there is! Since I signed up to the blog tour for Son of the Moon I’ve been excited about this post. I began reading the series in January this year and it’s fast becoming one of my favourite works of historical fiction. The series is based around the life of Ashley, a time-travelling journalist and her accidental life with Alexander the Great. She travels back in time to interview him and gets stuck in his timeline. She becomes his lover and follows him as he builds his Empire and legacy. The Greeks are convinced she is Persephone, a Greek goddess and her place beside Alexander is met with mixed feelings.
Son of the Moon
Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery.
With their son, Paul, being worshipped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?
Son of the Moon continues our enjoyable jaunt across countries as Alexander builds his Empire. Ashley, ever at his side since being stranded in his timeline, is revered (and feared) as the Greek Goddess Persephone. Danger finds both Ashley and Alexander in this third instalment of the series. Ashley, all too aware of Alexander’s mortality, struggles with the knowledge that she cannot share with him and her peers.
Each book of the series thus far has allowed us to explore new regions of the Ancient world. Jennifer Macaire does an excellent job of vividly describing both the lavish beauty of the living world and the power of destruction only an army is capable of. Along their journey, we get to enjoy both the highs and lows of their relationship. Treachery by another of Alexander’s wives, Roxanne, would see the two separated. The fierce love between Ashley and Alexander really shines through though, and their emotional intimacy with each other is endearing.
As I have mentioned time and again reviewing this series, I love the combination of science fiction time travel and historical fiction. Watching events unfold from the eyes of someone who has lived in something closer to our own world makes it very approachable to the reader. Along with Ashley, as the reader we find ourselves gradually becoming accustomed to the different cultures, attitudes and lifestyle in the book. Now more than ever, we are hurtling towards a point in time that could change history forever. Will Ashley choose to risk it all for the man she loves the most? What repercussions will that have?
Maybe we’ll find out in the next book!
Author Bio –
Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.
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The weekend has come and gone in a flash, as it always does anyway! How are we all friends? Did you have a good one?
I’ve done surprisingly well in terms of the amount of reading I have done, but more on that later. In addition to that, I have also attempted to write a few thoughts down about my recent re-read of A Clash of Kings. Let’s face it, what can I possibly say to such an epic? I tried, I really did! I had more success in reviewing my TBR on Friday – far less pressure on that post. I may only have removed one book from the list, but I’ve psyched myself up for reading the rest!
I made light work of The Drawing of the Three after last week’s post! I left it too long between picking up books, but I can assure you it won’t be too long until I pick up number three. I found the second book a little easier to read than the first. Maybe having got the first under my belt made a difference.
I promptly moved on to Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire. I am taking part in a blog tour for the book tomorrow and I wanted to get this read in good time. I finished reading the book yesterday and have started my post. Finishing it for tomorrow is my job after this post goes live!
Since last night, I have read half of Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. I’m not quite sure how I have managed to read so much so quickly, but I have! I’m reading Seventh Decimate ahead of taking on The War Within, book two, next month. That has a lot more pages, so I won’t be so quick getting through that book!
As usual, I’ve been plodding through my latest audiobook, The Painted Man by Peter Brett. The beginning felt a little repetitive, but it’s picked up somewhat in the past couple of days. I can’t wait to see how the characters come together, if at all.
I was quite lucky this week because I received an email from Amazon about a book I’m interested in being on sale. Admittedly, it’s a way down the line since I am only on book four of the series now. Might as well take advantage of the sale though, right? That’s what I told myself anyway!
As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m taking part in a blog tour post for Son of the Moon – tomorrow. I need to get on and finish drafting that pretty damn quickly!
After that, my next post is planned for Thursday. As part of Throwback Thursday, I’ll be looking back at a book or series I have read previously and want to feature on my blog! I hope you can join me for that!
So, that’s all from me in this Sunday Summary! What have you been reading?
Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –
Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
Read the synopses of the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
I’ve written quite a few of these posts now and they are proving a great way of tidying up my reading list. Okay, the list isn’t exactly GOING DOWN, but it is all books I want to read now. Shall review the next five books on my list?
Called “elegantly, starkly beautiful” by The New York Times Book Review, The Siege is Helen Dunmore’s masterpiece. Her canvas is monumental — the Nazis’ 1941 winter siege on Leningrad that killed six hundred thousand — but her focus is heartrendingly intimate.
One family, the Levins, fights to stay alive in their small apartment, held together by the unlikely courage and resourcefulness of twenty-two-year-old Anna. Though she dreams of an artist’s life, she must instead forage for food in the ever more desperate city and watch her little brother grow cruelly thin. Their father, a blacklisted writer who once advocated a robust life of the mind, withers in spirit and body. At such brutal times everything is tested. And yet Dunmore’s inspiring story shows that even then, the triumph of the human heart is that love need not fall away.
I’m a complete sucker for historical fiction and especially for this time period. Typically, I would read about the front line, so to speak. I think it will be refreshing to read about the impact of war on everyday citizens for a change.
The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception – Emmanuel Carrère & Linda Coverdale
On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…
With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense Emmanuel Carrère begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, 18 years of lies, five murders and the extremes to which ordinary people can go.
Doesn’t this sound really chilling? That’s precisely what I thought when I read the synopsis on Bookbub. I bought a copy straight away and I’m intrigued to see where this sinister sounding novel takes us.
Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.
On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.
Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.
But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?
I like reading dystopian novels, and that’s why I added this to the list. Looking at it again now, I’m not so sure about it. It’s not that I think I won’t like it, but there isn’t a burning, overwhelming desire to read it either. I’ve got plenty of books on the list that I would love to read right here, right now. I think this one has to go.
In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze.
If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.
The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease.
Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?
Stephen King is pretty much an auto-approve for me. I have read a variety of his books now and really enjoyed them all. The synopsis would have drawn me to the book whether he had a hand in it or not; the fact he does is only bonus points.
Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.
Again, this is an automatic yes! What’s even better is that I came across this gem in a charity shop for only 50p!
So, only one off the list this time, but I don’t mind too much! Do you agree with my choices? Have you read any of these books? As always, I would love to hear from you!
At a time when A Game of Thrones is a hot topic, I really want to keep the fervour going because it is SO WELL DESERVED! As some of you may know, I have been re-reading the books since around December last year. My reading schedule meant that I couldn’t fit the whole series in before the TV show, but never mind! It doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of it at all! Are you reading the books or watching the last season?
Today, I’m reviewing my recent re-read of A Clash of Kings.
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who hold sway over an age of enforced peace are dead, victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.
It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.
Here is the second volume in George R.R. Martin magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R.R. Martin stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.
Where book one of the Song of Ice and Fire series sets the scene for a long haul conflict that spans the remainder of the series, A Clash of Kings is the true beginning of the conflict. A Clash of Kings introduces a number of new characters (and dragons) to the game, including new chapters from the perspectives of Davos and Theon. The growing war over the true heir to the Iron Throne drives great change into the lives of many. Every character has a unique storyline.
It isn’t something I noticed until I went back to the beginning, but the complexity and sophistication of the character relationships and narrative develops gradually throughout the books. It was only making the jump back from A Dance with Dragons to the beginning again that I noticed how simple things were in the early days… by comparison anyway.
Even though the complexity increases, never have I found each character arc difficult to follow. Each character perspective is re-visited frequently enough that we don’t forget where they are and what they are up to. Geographically, the narrative is far more diverse than A Game of Thrones. However, as we are building on a sturdy foundation of geography, history and lore already established, the progression feels natural, not confusing.
I can talk about the love of my series all I like; in the grand scheme of things, my review is unlikely to make a difference about whether someone picks up the series or not. Arguably the TV series has been the greatest influence on book sales, with 8 million copies of A Game of Thrones being sold following the airing of the first season (source: Forbes). It’s a topic that a lot of people are talking about right now, and as a lover of the books and the TV show, jointly and severally, I am proud to be a part of the community.
I’m writing today’s Sunday Summary post with headphones in – again! Things haven’t been all that bad here for about two weeks now, but there have been bad periods tonight and it’s honestly ridiculous. As a rule, I work best in relative quiet, but I am genuinely resorting to choosing my own noise over that of my neighbour’s TV. Otherwise, I’ve had a mediocre week but great weekend. The first week back at work is never fun; however, my sister is visiting this weekend. At least I’ve had that to look forward to!
I’ve also started a busy reading month ahead of me. Inspired by my recent time off, I’ve got the urge to read lots of books so I’m pushing the boundaries a little. If you want to take a look at the books on my list this month, I’ve published my reading list and you can find it here. A little later in the week I published my review of Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares, as well as reminisced a little over the early days… good times.
I began the week where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post with Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. I was aiming to get this finished by Monday at the latest, but I actually finished it on Tuesday in the early evening. Without hesitation, I quickly picked up my first book from this month’s TBR, The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. I’ve been making steady progress throughout the week and I’m at 80%. I’ll be reading more tonight and fingers crossed, I’ll have it finished by tomorrow. I said that last week too, but I’m more hopeful this time!
I also finished the novella about the history of Lock In, so I’ve started a new audiobook. The Painted Man by Peter Brett is a little different from the books I have listened to previously. It’s narrated really well and I have gotten into it quite quickly!
Not so much discovered, but I treated myself to paperback copies of A Storm of Swords: Part 2 and A Feast for Crows after payday.
What’s coming up on the blog next week? When I type this, or something similar, the thought that follows is “good question”. It’s rare that I’ve planned so far ahead that I know this point before I start writing this section.
I think I am going to tackle another review early this week because I have a few to catch up on. Whilst we fans are all in Game of Thrones fever, I’m thinking to review A Clash of Kings.
Later in the week, I’d like to take another look at the TBR and whittle it down. Removing the books I am no longer interested in will make it appear a little more manageable… until I add a ton more books at least!
What are you up to this week? What books are you reading?
***I have been provided with a copy of this book by the author for the purpose of providing an honest review. All opinions stated are my own***
My review of Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares feels a little overdue, but I have been looking forward to writing this post! The timing of the post is actually quite interesting. I have recently had my two year blog anniversary and I have been thinking back a lot to those early days. One of the earliest book reviews I posted was for the first book of Shaun Hume’s fantasy series, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. Incidentally, my review today is two weeks shy of the two year anniversary of that post! A strange part of me feels like we have grown together…
When Ewan Pendle began his second training year at Firedrake Lyceum, he thought it might at least be easier than the first. Now that he knew he was a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who alone can see the real Creatures which inhabit the earth, he hoped things would maybe go a little downhill from here … How wrong he was.
Ewan is summoned by Alice Blazely, the would be assassin who he and his friends Mathilde and Enid helped capture last year, the cunning woman using her final wish after being sentenced to death for her crimes to request a private meeting with Ewan. Alone together in a deep and dank cell, Alice reveals a secret which could turn Ewan’s world upside down – again. Does she hold the answer to deciphering Ewan’s disturbing reoccurring dreams? Can he ever trust the woman who wanted to see him dead?
As if a shocking revelation from a new foe wasn’t enough to handle, Ewan must also tackle a sea monster in the Thames, deal with the evil Rosethorn twins, come face to face with a shadow troll in a London alleyway and bargain with a crafty dragon, and attempt to find a treasure lost for over a thousand years …
As the summer ends, Ewan’s year long initiation into the world of creatures and the Lenitnes is finally over. But it’s then when monsters of all shapes and sizes really do start leaping, clawing and flying at him thick and fast!
Ewan Pendle, his friends and the fantasy world he lives in has come on leaps and bounds since the first book. Where Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith lays the foundations of the series, this next book builds upon the established world in ways that I never could have imagined. Character relations are becoming more complex and I’m starting to feel a wider plot developing. I can’t wait to see what comes next!
The writing and narrative style of this second instalment of Ewan Pendle’s adventures has improved from the first book, in my opinion. I think having invested the time in setting everything up in the first book; the action and characters have more opportunity to shine through now, and they DO! I really love the additional world-building, such as the history of Firedrake Lyceum, being incorporated into the narrative in a clever way. Chapters are nice and concise as well, which makes for easy reading.
Ewan and friends, in their highly adventurous (and slightly, enjoyably reckless) way, risk their lives to locate a castle seen only through Ewan’s dreams/nightmares. Once Ewan’s connection to these dreams becomes apparent he must do everything he can to prevent the living nightmare. Ewan, by nature, is an introverted character. He can really come out of his shell when he needs to though. The depth of emotion he has makes him feel really real, and as someone who can relate to him really well, it makes me root for him all the more!
I can’t help but feel that this series will keep on giving. Each book is paced really well. They drive the story forward in a way that unveils new secrets and challenges as existing ones are resolved. I have said it before and I’ll say it again… I cannot wait to see what happens next! There are developments within this book that I didn’t see coming at all; I’m expecting a lot of surprises to come.
We are just over a third of the way through the year – isn’t that a scary thought?! Yes, it’s time to publish another reading list; I have lots of plans this month. My recent time off has got me kind of excited and slightly ambitious about this TBR. I have lots of books that I want to pick up now and in order to achieve my goal, I’m thinking of experimenting a little more with reading more than one book at once. This worked really well for me recently, so why wouldn’t it in the long term?
I’m also excited to be picking up more books that aren’t part of blog tours. I am only taking part in one tour this month (in stark contrast to the four I did last month). It affords me more freedom to choose books I have wanted to pick up for some time! I fully expect my last book of the list is going to appear on next month’s list too – it’s an epic in its own right.
Sword Song – Bernard Cornwell
“Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction….This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred’s adventures.” -USA Today
The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children-and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex…with Uhtred’s help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning side of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred-Alfred’s sharpest sword-must now make the choice that will determine England’s future.
I’ve recently watched Season 3 of the TV adaptation, The Last Kingdom, and it has re-ignited my love for the story! I last picked up the series nearly two years ago now – June 2017. That’s far too long! I had barely started my blog at that point.
Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire
Can you face the consequences of cheating the Fates? Alexander the Great journeys to India, where he and Ashley are welcomed with feasts and treachery. With their son, Paul, being worshiped as the Son of the Moon, and Alexander’s looming death, Ashley considers the unthinkable: how to save them and whether she dares to cheat Fate?
This read is my one and only blog tour of the month. I have read the first two books in the series already, The Road to Alexander and Legends of Persia already. I’m really enjoying the series so far; I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that I know very little of the time period itself. Whilst it’s great to visit favourites (Tudor History, for example), it’s also refreshing to try something new. This is a gamble that really paid off on this occasion!
Seventh Decimate – Stephen Donaldson
Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning. These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.
But a seventh Decimate exists–the most devastating one of all…
For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides brandishing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.
Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to find the book of the seventh Decimate–and reverse the fate of his land.
All hope rests with Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains–and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn…
I have plans to read a book that Gollancz have sent to me for review next month, called The God Within. That book is the second instalment of a series. You can probably guess where this is leading… There is no way I’ll be able to pick that up knowing that I haven’t read the first book –so here it is! A bit of pre-reading, shall we say…
The Drawing of the Three – Stephen King
This second volume in the epic series ‘The Dark Tower’ both stands alone and continues the adventures of Roland of Gilead. He has mysteriously stepped through the doorway in time to 1980s America, where he meets Eddie Dean and Odetta Holmes.
I have started reading this book already! I finished April’s TBR at the 11th hour (almost precisely) yesterday and decided that I wanted to get stuck in with May’s list. This is my first victim ahem book of choice for the month! It’s been too long since reading the first book really; I need to pick these up sooner!
The Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean
In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.
Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.
Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.
Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.
Here is another read sent to me by Gollancz for review. I haven’t really read all that much fantasy aimed at a YA audience lately, so I am looking forward to seeing how I like this book. I think the plotline is really interesting – it’s what has enticed me to read it the most!
A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin
Crows will fight over a dead man’s flesh, and kill each other for his eyes.
Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on the Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the Seven Kingdoms has burned itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life.
The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow’s Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel.
Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel and the coldest hearts.
There is absolutely no way I am going to get all the above books read in one month, but if I can read the rest and at least make a START on this one, I’ll be happy! Naturally, A Game of Thrones is hot-topic at the moment with the final series already halfway through (and wasn’t that last episode epic?!) Now more than ever I am keen to pick up the books and continue to enjoy the experience.
This week has been one of the best this year, by far! I’ve had a much-deserved break from work to relax, catch up on some sleep… and read plenty of books! Apparently, the break was needed too. An eagle-eyed reader of last week’s post may have noticed I managed to get the date very, very wrong – a month wrong, in fact. Well done if you spotted it – if you didn’t it’s too late now because I’ve corrected that grievous error…
I’ve not been sleeping well lately thanks to an inconsiderate night-owl neighbour. Not to jinx it, but things have been alright this week, so fingers crossed my complaints have finally made an impact!
Although I had more time on my hands this week, the blog schedule remained as usual. My focus was on the reading side, so I have stuck to my three posts. My first blog post of the week landed on Wednesday and I decided to resurrect my “Quintessential Quotes” post. I last made one last year and this time, I wanted to take a look at another fantasy author I am fast becoming a huge fan of – Brandon Sanderson. The particular book I decided to feature was “The Way of Kings”. On Friday I took part in my last blog tour of the month for Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.
I’ve had such a productive week in reading terms. It’s not very often that I manage to get through so much simply because I’m out at work! Now I understand how some people can get through so many books in a week. I was talking to my parents about how much I have been reading on Friday and my mum joked that I will probably die surrounded by books and cats. Suffocation by TBR doesn’t sound like the worst way to go…
Following on from last week, I ended up reading Justice Gone and The Watcher of Dead time pretty much side by side. It’s not very often I do this, but it felt right. Reading one and then the other worked because it enabled me to take a break from each when I needed to, but I was able to keep up the momentum. The narratives and genres are completely different, which helps. I can’t read anything to similar at the same time but that wasn’t a problem here at all.
In the last couple of days, I picked up the last book of the TBR for April, Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. His books are always a great laugh and quite easy to read. I’m two-thirds of the way through currently and I expect I’ll have it finished by tomorrow at the latest. Who knows, for the first time in a long while (if not ever) I might actually get to start a monthly TBR early!
I may have been at home most of the week, but I did have a couple of trips out in the car. I have finished the main storyline of Lock In and I am now listening to the novella also included in the audiobook that tells us the history of Haden’s syndrome.
In addition to being off work this week, payday rolled around (finally)! So, yes, I treated myself to a couple of books. One of these I needed pretty much straight away, since my library don’t have this one in their e-book library. The second book is one that I could have borrowed from them, but I have bought the first three books already. I have just watched Season 3 of The Last Kingdom and it’s reminded me that I really need to pick up the next book. Sword Song is book four of the series and I expect I’ll be picking it up really soon!
It’s that time of the month when I am thinking about my next TBR. I am really excited about it, because having been off and had a taste of the luxury of time; I want to read all the books! I have so many in mind I fear I won’t get around to them all. I’m either going to have to reluctantly postpone one or two or really pull my finger out to dedicate every spare moment I have to the cause. I’m yet to decide, but I’ll let you know in my reading list post!
A little later in the week, I’m going to be writing a book review that isn’t for a blog tour! It’s been so long since I’ve done one and I now have a bit of a backlist. Usually, I refer to Goodreads, but because I have done so many tours a few books still to review are quite far down the list now. To be sure I don’t forget them, I’ve started a list on my phone to be sure nothing is forgotten! Since I have been reading Shaun Hume’s book for so long (and I got the chance to put all my feedback together whilst I have been off work – another win!) it’s time I finally committed to a review.
You probably hate me now for all this talk of time off work (lucky bitch), and fair enough! Just remember that I have to go back tomorrow and I am very acutely aware of this fact. I’m not looking forward to it! Reading the antics of Terry Pratchett’s creations had best keep me sane…
Today is my final blog tour post of the month. This tour had me reading something a little out of my comfort zone, yet I was equally keen to try it! Thank you to the author and to Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part and try something new!
A beaten homeless vet. Three cops gunned down. A multistate manhunt. The trial of the decade.
A new kind of legal thriller
When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.
A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.
Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.
Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?
Reading Justice Gone was a new experience for me. It’s rare that I read anything with a military undertone – if I do, it’s historical (WW2 etc). The lives of war veteran’s after they have served their country, and the daily difficulties they face, as a result, isn’t really well known.
I found the novel easier to read the further developed the story became. Each character is easy to invest in and as many of the characters have experienced trauma as a result of a military background, I found myself empathising with them so easily. I love how openly PTSD is discussed and that there isn’t a stigma around men expressing their true feelings.
“What makes a person if not their own experiences?”
It’s a poignant quote from the book and it has stuck with me… simply because it’s true! Vets returning from service aren’t given the support needed to integrate themselves back into society and are then punished for acting out in the only way they know.
There is a degree of violence in the book which some readers may not like, but I personally didn’t find it off-putting. If anything, experiencing these moments with the characters drives home the feelings of injustice even more.
I was mainly drawn to the book for the promise of a legal thriller – and I was not disappointed! Donald Darfield stands accused murdering three police officers, who days before had beaten his friend and sergeant to death. Reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the novel tackles the challenges and failings of the justice system, as well as racial and socioeconomic bias in society.
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).
In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.