Tag: brandon sanderson

First Lines Friday – 26/01/2024

Welcome to my first First Lines Friday post of 2024 readers, and I have a great feature for you today!

More often than not, I find myself looking forward in these posts and featuring upcoming books on my reading list. Whilst I didn’t explicitly set myself a challenge this time, I decided tonight that instead I was going to look back in today’s First Lines Friday. I feature a five-star read from last year that I’m sure you will love too. Particularly, if you are a fan of Brandon Sanderson and read any of his young adult works.

Can you guess the book from the clues in the introduction?

 

A dark sphere appeared before me in the centre of the room. Scud. Was I really going to do this? In my hand, Doomslug fluted nervously.

The sterile, whitewashed, walls, enormous one-way mirror, and metal tables marked this as some kind of scientific facility. I was on Starsight: the massive space station that housed the regional offices of the Superiority. Up until this past year, I’d never even heard of the Superiority, let alone understood the nuances of how it – as a Galactic government – ruled hundreds of different planets and species.

To be honest, I still didn’t understand those nuances. I’m not exactly a “there are nuances to this situation” type of girl. I’m more of an “if it’s still moving, you didn’t use enough ammunition” type of girl.

 

 

 

Cytonic – Brandon Sanderson

 

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 432

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 23 Nov 2021

 

Goodreads – Cytonic

Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.

Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa has seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.

Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.

The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.

To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.

 

My Thoughts…

I have dual motives for featuring Cytonic as today’s First Lines Friday feature. Firstly, it is a book I wholeheartedly recommend and a series that I will press into almost anyone’s hands. Whilst I haven’t officially published reviews of any books in the series, as yet, you can find a summary of my thoughts for Skyward, Starsight, and Cytonic in my Sunday Summary posts around the time I finished the books.

Secondly, I’m also featuring the book today as a reminder that the fourth book in the series was released at the end of last year. I need to read it! It’s not very often that I keep up with series as they come out. Indeed, so far, I haven’t been keeping up with this one at all. But, that is my intention in future. With this in mind, I hope to pick up Defiant soon.

I enjoy reading from the perspective of the main character, Spensa. She is young, feisty, and angsty. She has a chip on her shoulder and everything to prove. Her temperament makes her a bit of a loose cannon and this keeps us as readers guessing as to what she’ll come up with next!

If you like science fiction full of action and a fighting scenes then this will definitely appeal to you. I thoroughly enjoy how these scenes are written and how Spencer‘s personality adds a little spice.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature!

Have you read Cytonic or any of the books in the Skyward series so far?

 

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Monthly TBR – December 2023

Hello reading friends and welcome to my final monthly TBR post of 2023! Where has the time gone?

If you’re panicking about meeting your reading goal before the end of the year, please try not to stress. I hope that doesn’t sound patronising from me considering I have reached my goal already. I don’t want that to the point. Instead, the point is that we should all be enjoying the reading we are doing. It doesn’t matter how much you read, what you choose to read or how you go about it. The point is to have fun! Maybe to try and push the boundaries a little bit and try something new. But ultimately, it needs to be enjoyable!

That’s what I’ve been aiming for in my monthly TBR for December, and I have quite a range of books here on this list to see me in the new year. Am I likely to read them all before then? Not likely. However, I’m going to have a great time doing it.

Shall we check out the books on this monthly TBR?

 

Fixed Reads

 

November Carryover – The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

I picked up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes on a whim after DNF’ing another read last month. As of this post, it’s my current read.

So far, I’m loving the fidelity between the book, the characters and the film. Sure, there are some subtle differences. However, in contrast, some of the dialogue is very close to the film. That they wanted to make the two as close as possible makes me very happy!

As of this monthly TBR, I’m 36% into the book and loving every moment!

 

November Insta Poll Carryover – The Minders

Another carryover from last month is my current audiobook, The Minders.

I’m halfway through this conspiracy thriller and I’m intrigued by the plot. It’s an interesting premise and I have no idea how the plot will look to resolve. It’s a compelling listen and the audio casting of the book is working well for me.

As my first John Marrs book, it’s made a great impression so far! If it carries on this good, or gets better, then I’ll definitely be reading more of his books in future.

 

Chaos and Order

I received a review request to pick up another short story anthology, and I am excited to oblige. You may recall that I read a short story anthology called Taking Liberties earlier this year. As someone who doesn’t read short stories very often, I enjoyed diving into this anthology with a theme between the different stories as a break from typical longer narratives.

Much is the case with Chaos and Order, and the themes are pretty self-explanatory. Chaos and Order is a relatively short book, and being made up of plenty of short stories, this should be an easy read to pick up and put down if I want to… although I might want to binge it after all!

I’m looking forward to picking this up and sharing my thoughts with you very soon.

 

Insta Poll Runner Up – My Sister’s Keeper

In the last few months I have made a habit of posting a couple of books on my TBR in an Instagram poll and letting my followers decide my next read. To make sure the ‘losing’ book doesn’t fall off the radar, I’ve taken to reading this the following month after the poll.

This month is no exception! After reading The Minders, which won the poll in November, I will be picking up My Sister‘s Keeper this month.

I think the premise is an interesting one. Whilst I had heard of the title, I wasn’t really familiar with the storyline behind it. I think this book will do well to explore humanitarian issues, as well as personal identity. This would be profound enough in a book with a teenage protagonist. However, considering her perceived (and conceived) role as a donor for her sister, this could get even more interesting!

 

December TBR Jar – The Black Coats

The last TBR Jar pick of the year is The Black Coats.

It feels like ages ago that I added this book to my reading list. As I have other reads in this monthly TBR that explore morality to an extent, there’s something that feels right about this book and the premise of revenge getting out of hand.

I don’t know too much about the book and I’m excited to go in knowing that little. It will be a pleasant surprise and an opportunity to try a brand-new author to me. That’s something I always look for, and I hope that has already come across in my reading.

 

Mood Reads

 

The Success Code

Another short read on this monthly TBR, and hopefully one of the last non-fiction reads of the year, is The Success Code.

Not only does reading this book work towards my non-fiction goal, but it also feels appropriate given that we’re going to be jumping into year end performance reviews and 2024 goal setting at work very soon.

I appreciate this isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, and to a certain extent, some of the formality around it isn’t my favourite either. However, I am the type of person who likes to push themselves and try new things. I’m not content unless I’m learning, and so these New Year opportunities have some appeal.

I might as well go into the conversation prepared, right?

 

How to Win Friends and Influence People

The very last non-fiction I intend to pick up this year is How to Win Friends and Influence People. I actually have a copy of this book on audio, so this is going to be my priority listen after finishing The Minders.

Again, this works of my reading goal for non-fiction. However, like I did after a communication training course at work, I have decided to pick up this topical book to add to what I learned in another workshop I attended through work. I did the same thing in picking up Surrounded by Idiots in October. Incidentally, those two mediums of learning went together really well, in terms of content. Having completed an ‘influence’ workshop a couple of weeks ago, I now hope How to Win Friends and Influence People can build upon and cement what I learned there into something I can put into practice.

 

Firefight

Firefight is a book I have intended to pick up in the last couple of months, but not gotten to. There’s a few of those that have made it onto the reading list recently, and Firefight is no exception. Regular readers will know I am a big fan of Brandon Sanderson. I have read a variety of his books, some series in full, whilst others I have dipped into.

I read the first book in his Reckoners series a few years ago now. I enjoyed the action-packed narrative and I’ve been looking to get back into the series. Sequels are something I am trying to read more of as well, so I can tick another box with this pick!

 

Gemina

Another sequel, and the last book on my December monthly TBR is Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.

I read the first book of this YA mixed media series, Illuminae, in February. Although the books are chunkier in length, they are nice and easy to get through considering the medium they are written in.

I’m looking forward to picking up Gemina, partly as a change from traditional prosaic writing, but also as it’s a series I have loved so far.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a particular reader of the young adult genre, but I don’t feel ostracised or out of place by picking up these books. They are written very well and the mixed media aspects of the book make them interesting. I enjoy reading between the lines, and that is something we get to do in this format more than traditional writing styles.

 

Summary

In my monthly wrap-up post for November, I shared my hopes to unofficially up my reading goal to 60 books by the end of the year.

Although I don’t expect to get through everything on this reading list, there is plenty of material here to get me to that goal… and maybe beyond!?

Have you read any of the books or authors I have featured in today’s monthly TBR? What do you think of my final choices for the year? As always, I would love to hear your feedback.

 

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First Lines Friday – 13/10/2023

Good evening and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! I’ve set myself another challenge in today’s First Lines Friday post – to feature a book I intend to pick up and read before the end of the year.

This book is the second in a series by a much loved author. I first picked up the series in August 2020… over three years ago now! With my goal of trying to pick up and continue series I’ve started, this feels like the perfect book to pick up and make good on that promise to myself. It’s also a great series and a reliable author to revisit!

Are you curious about today’s feature? Let’s see if the introduction captures your imagination too!

 

I watched Calamity rise.

I was six years old, then, as I stood in the night on the balcony of our apartment. I can still remember how the old air-conditioner rattled in the window next to me, covering the sound of Father’s crying. The overworked machine hung out over a plummet of many stories, dripping water like perspiration from the forehead of a suicidal jumper. The machine was broken; it blew air, but it didn’t make anything cold. My mother had frequently turned it off.

After her passing, my father left it on; he said that he felt cooler with it running.

I lowered my popsicle and squinted at that strange red light, which rose like a new star above the horizon. Only no star had ever been that bright or that red. Crimson. It looked like a bullet wound in the dome of heaven itself.

 

 

Firefight – Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 420

Audience: Adult / Young Adult

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 06 Jan 2015

 

 

Goodreads – Firefight

They told David it was impossible – that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart – invincible, immortal, unconquerable – is dead. And he died by David’s hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there’s no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David’s willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David’s heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic – Firefight. And he’s willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

 

My Thoughts…

Brandon Sanderson is an author I can revisit in relative safety of enjoying whichever book of his I pick up. I’ve read 13 of his books so far (which feels like an auspicious number on Friday the 13th no less…) and I have a couple more shelved already. Every single one of the 13 books I have read to date has earned themselves a five-star rating from me. I literally couldn’t ask for anything better!

One of the greatest selling points I love about Brandon Sanderson’s writing is that he is able to reinvent completely different worlds, magical elements and fantasy settings with no series feeling the same. I particularly enjoyed how he advanced his original Mistborn setting to demonstrate technological and industrial advancement in the 200 years between each series. It takes courage to rework something great without unsettling a fan base.

Having not picked up this series for three years now, I’m keen to get back into it. The Reckoners is a trilogy; provided I can get stuck into Firefight without any trouble, I shouldn’t wait too long before completing the trilogy. Then, I can tick it off the list and assure myself that I am whittling down my LONG list of ongoing series… hopefully!

Have you read any books in this series, or any books by Brandon Sanderson on the whole? What do you think? Has today’s First Lines Friday inspired you to give him a try?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – July 2023

Happy August friends and welcome to my monthly wrap-up post for the month of July! As always, I set myself a colossal TBR and didn’t get around to all the books on it, but that’s okay. I still read a decent amount. I’ve also taken time out to enjoy doing other things as and when I wanted.

Let’s take a look at what I read in the last month!

 

Books Read

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

I started off the month of July by finishing one of the last reads I picked up at the end of June. The House in the Cerulean Sea was a heartwarming read that I didn’t know I needed, but I was a big fan of. I talk about that book a little bit more in my June wrap-up, if you’re interested.

I was pleasantly surprised by the narrative, characters, and how invested I got in the book. It’s an experience that I’ll be looking to repeat when picking up more books by T.J. Klune.

 

Death at the Caravan Park

My next priority in terms of reading for July was to pick up Death at the Caravan Park by Susan Willis. I agreed to provide a review for the recent blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

In part, I decided to pick it up because it has been a little minute since I picked up a cosy crime. It’s not a genre I read a lot of, but it was a change that was well received. The setting of the book was quite relatable to me in that it was set in a seaside town. Living on a small island, I’ve never really far away from the sea myself! I’ve also stayed at a caravan park before, and I have known characters very similar to that in the book.

If you want to check out my full thoughts on that book, here is a link to my blog tour review post.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Having read and enjoyed another work of fiction that largely features mental health recently, I was excited for this book to come out of my TBR Jar. If you’re not familiar, I have a jar on my bookshelf, full of scraps of paper with book titles from my reading list to pick from randomly.

July’s pick ended up being Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I was also quite pleased that this book finally made it onto the reading list as it has been on my radar for the last five years. It was probably one of the oldest books on my reading list at that point, so it was about due to come up!

Whilst I had an idea that the book revolved around mental health, I didn’t really know much more about it. Aside from that, it has a gripping plot with intriguing characters and takes you on a journey you don’t expect. I enjoyed this book so much that I read pretty much the second half of it in one day! I’d ended up arriving early for a hospital appointment (just a routine check, nothing sinister) so I started my reading that day while sat in my car waiting. I continued to read all that evening until I was finished. Just don’t ask me how late to bed I was that night…

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is it very easy, five-star rating for me, and arguably, it was one of the best books I read in July!

 

Storm of War

Although not strictly for a blog tour itself, I picked up Storm of War by Peter Gibbons as I am reviewing the next book in the series later this week. With this in mind, I had to catch up on that first.

The events of Storm of War follow on quite nicely from Warrior and Protector. I was able to pick up the story and characters very easily, and the action packed narrative we saw in that first book definitely carried through!

If you enjoy historical fiction set in 10th century Britain, then the series is definitely one I’d recommend picking up. The narrative style is nice and easy to get on with. I also enjoy the amount of action and political machinations in the book. I feel there is a perfect balance to feel authentic for the period, and keep us guessing what happens next.

Storm of War set the foundation nicely to be able to pick up my current read, Brothers of the Sword.

 

Cytonic

Drawing with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson was also one of my favourite reads of the month. This third instalment in the Skyward series is, in my opinion, the best so far! That’s not to detract from the previous books, because they have laid down a lot of the groundwork that enable us to get stuck in with Cytonic.

Each of the books so far have been quite different in terms of the setting and plot arc. I’ve enjoyed each of them for different reasons, but I really invested into this latest narrative. Spensa is finally discovering who and what she is, and more about the universe around her. Having spent her life previously as an isolated young woman, there is only so far Sanderson was able to take the world building. There has been a lot of teasing and unveiling in order to keep us interested, but in Cytonic, everything blooms!

Also, I’m happy to have read the book and be caught up with the series, although I’m even more excited about the fact that this won’t be true for long. The next book in the series, Defiant, comes out in November!

 

Brothers of the Sword

As of the end of July, I just finished up my read of Brothers of the Sword by Peter Gibbons. As I’ve already mentioned above, I am due to be reviewing the book very shortly for the upcoming blog tour.

Even though I enjoyed Storm of War, I can very happily say that I enjoyed Brothers of the Sword even more. Without giving anything away, the author definitely isn’t pulling his punches on the events of this third book in the series. Set in a brutal time period where Vikings and Saxons clash amongst each other, there is always lots of action and plenty of risk to have us questioning the safety of characters we have come to love. In my opinion, the action scenes are written very well in order to balance action with detail to make for a vivid experience.

I finished Brothers of the Sword just in the nick of time for this monthly wrap-up! Well, I finished it at about 12:10am this morning, but that was before I slept for the night. In my eyes, that counts!

 

Summary

Once again, I didn’t get to the end of my ambitious reading list. I’m okay with that though! I set the list as a way of trying to push myself, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t finish either. The truth is, I’ve enjoyed the reading experience I’ve had this month. Yet, I’ve still allowed for other hobbies and things I need to do.

It’s not going to stop me from setting another ambitious reading list in the next couple of days… let’s be honest! At least I have some time off during August to make a considerable attempt at it.

So, here concludes my monthly wrap-up for July 2023! Have you read any of the books I have featured in today’s list? Have any of them caught your eye to pick up for yourself? As always, I’d love to have a natter in the comments or on social media, so let’s chat!

 

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Sunday Summary – 30th July 2023

It’s the end of another week (and sadly, weekend) so you know what time it is! It’s time for this week’s Sunday Summary post! Let’s dive into my review of the week just gone.

My first published post of the week was a review of one of my favourite reads in 2022 (and ever, to be honest). Although I’m not a vampire girly, I really enjoyed Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff. If you check out my review, you’ll see why you might just love it too!

On Friday, I shared my next Well, I Didn’t Know That! post. The topic of this week’s post was a little bit different; I discussed my feelings regarding Twitter and the upcoming changes to the social network site, and how I may be re-considering my use of the site in future.

 

Books Read

 

Cytonic

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I had just finished my previous read, Storm of War. So, I started this week with a brand-new book! I decided to pick up Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson as I was keen to continue with the Skyward series. I picked up the second book of the series, Starsight, earlier this year and really enjoyed it. As I’m looking to try and read up on more sequels this year, Cytonic fit the bill.

I enjoyed the plot of this latest instalment, more so than the earlier books. This is in part because we’ve already laid out the foundation of the world and events in prior books. They have all worked together really well, and I’ve enjoyed how they’ve taken a different slant each time. This latest book had plenty of action and a story arc and characters that I was invested in.

I finished this book on Friday this week, so I am officially up-to-date with the series… at least until November. In November, the sequel Defiant is due to be published. I can imagine I’ll be picking it up before too long!

 

Brothers of the Sword

The next book I picked up this week is Brothers of the Sword by Peter Gibbons. You may recall that I read another book by Peter Gibbons earlier this month, Storm of War. That’s because I am due to be reviewing Brothers of the Sword next week. In order to do so, I had to catch up with events in the second book of the series before I could read and review the third.

As of this Sunday Summary update, I am 54% into the book. I’ve made quite a lot of progress with this just over Friday night and through the weekend. I really enjoyed the events that have taken place so far in the book, and I’m invested to see what happens next. Obviously, I need to shake a leg and finish this book in time for my review on Friday. As things stand, I have every confidence that I will finish this book in the next day or two. My Kindle gives an estimated reading time of just two and a half hours to finish the book. I’m hoping to get half of that done tonight before turning in. 

 

Books Discovered

I’ve added no less than three books to my reading list this week. I don’t feel so bad about one of them, as it is a sequel to series I am already reading (and may have just alluded to above). The other two books I’ve added are both non-fiction books, but are very different in topic and were found by very different means.

 

Defiant

The first book I’ve mentioned is of course Defiant by Brandon Sanderson. On the one hand, it is good to be able to tick Cytonic off my TBR. However, it wouldn’t be an accurate reflection to leave Defiant off the list. I definitely want to read this book, so I this addition will net off Cytonic’s completion.

 

The Success Code

The next book added to my reading list is as a result of a cheeky browse through WHSmith’s book sale in my local store on Monday. There wasn’t over much that caught my eye, and my wallet is grateful for that.

However, I was intrigued by The Success Code. As well as trying to finish and/or read more sequels this year, I’m also trying to read more in the way of non-fiction. I’m not averse to a bit of personal development, and I’m hopeful I can find some advice in this book, that will prove useful to me.

 

Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia

The origin of this book recommendation is a little unusual. I follow a brand called Snag Tights on Instagram. Something I value about them is how body inclusive they are. It’s rare to see products modelled by larger women… and I mean genuinely larger women. Media is full of stick thin models, or at an absolute push, a size 16 or 18 women who in my not so humble opinion, shouldn’t even count as ‘plus size’. You never see bigger than that.

Snag are different. They aim to advertise their products using models in the same proportions as represented in society. For example, if 40% of women in society are obese, that percentage is used in their marketing. I think it’s a great idea. As a larger woman myself, it gives me the opportunity to look at different products on models that are actually my size. Not only that, but I like how their products are designed with size 24 as the baseline. Normally clothes are designed on skinny people and then scaled up, and that doesn’t always work.

This is kind of besides the point, because I’m here to talk about the book that they recommended earlier this week. In their Instagram feed, they shared a great write-up on Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia. I can’t say that this idea has ever crossed my mind before, although I have no trouble believing it either. Given that I am clearly uneducated on the subject, I decided to add this book to my list to change that! It also happens to be another non-fiction – again, a focus for this year.

 

Coming Up…

Next week I’m in for a marathon run. The end of the month, and the beginning of a new month, is always busy for me. Not only do I have the usual wrap-up and new reading list to share, but this month I also have a blog tour book review to share!

I’ll be kicking off the week on Tuesday with my reading wrap-up for July. As always in these posts, I’ll be talking about the books I read throughout the month and telling you some of my thoughts on those!

On Thursday, a day earlier than I would usually, I am going to share my reading list for August. I can’t believe we’re nearly in August already … but there we are! As always, I’m going to share an ambitious reading list in the hopes that I can make a dent in it. I have some great books coming up, and also some time off the 9-5 in which to enjoy them. I hope you can join me for that post!

On Friday, it is my scheduled slot for the blog tour of Brothers of the Sword by Peter Gibbons. As I’ve already mentioned in this post, I will be reviewing that book for the tour. If you’re interested in historical fiction novels around 10th century Britain, full of clashes between Saxons and Vikings, then you’ll definitely want to read my review on Friday.

Last, but certainly not least, I will be back at the same time next week with another Sunday Summary update.

For now though, that’s all for me in today’s Sunday Summary post. What have you been reading this weekend?  Do you have any reading recommendations for me?

 

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Monthly TBR – July 2023

Happy Friday and welcome to my monthly TBR post for July!

We’re now over half way through the year and I’ve already made some great reading progress towards my goal of 50 books (15 of which non-fiction, as well as completing series). I’m going to share a mid-year review post soon, but for now, let’s share how I plan to kick off the beginning of the second half of the year!

 

Fixed Reads

I’m starting off this month’s fixed reading list with a few books I need to read for blog tour obligations. Whilst I’m not strictly touring for all of the books, I do need to catch up with one as it’s a second instalment of the series in order to be able to read the third book – which is for a blog tour!

In addition, I am also reading the book club pick over at Ezeekat’s book club this month.

 

Death at the Caravan Park – Susan Willis

The first book I am touring for this month is Death at the Caravan Park by Susan Willis. That blog tour post will be coming to you in just over a week. Naturally, I’ve already made a start with this book and as of drafting this post, I am a third of the way through it.

So far, Death at the Caravan Park is proving a relatively easy read. We have a good set up of characters and we now understand the baseline for the story. I’m interested to see how it progresses.

If you are interested and want to check out my thoughts on this book, I’ll be publishing my review on the 15th of July.

 

Storm of War – Peter Gibbons

This next book I’m picking up isn’t strictly for a blog tour. Rather, I need to read it in order to get up-to-date with the series before starting the third book. I will be providing a review as part of the upcoming blog tour for that book early next month.

I must have inadvertently missed reading this second book in the series when it went on tour itself. Fortunately, I’ve been able to download a copy via Kindle Unlimited, so I can read it before picking up the third book in the series.

I read and enjoyed the first book, Warrior and Protector, towards the end of last year; if you want to find out about that book, here is a link to my review.

 

Brothers of the Sword – Peter Gibbons

As I mentioned above, I will be taking part in the blog tour for Brothers of the Sword, but not until early next month.

That gives me a bit of leeway to read this instalment. And, it’s so happens, I also need the time to read the second book first!

There’s not really much more to say in this monthly TBR post, other than letting you know that my review date for Brothers of the Sword is 4th August.

 

To Shape A Dragon’s Breath – Moniquill Blackgoose

To Shape a Dragon’s Breath is the book club selection over at Ezeekat’s book club on Fable. I didn’t read last month’s pick, so I definitely want to try and make the effort to read this one.

I am intrigued by the synopsis of this book. And, who doesn’t love a fantasy that contains dragons?! I also like the idea of having minority representation in this book. I am under no illusion that the English have, shall we say, put their stamp on the world in the past. The events of this book heavily imply conflict between culture of indigenous people and the “Anglish”. I’m interested to see how this fantasy take on modern events plays out.

 

Mood Reads

 

I already have a number of fixed read on this monthly TBR, but I’m still hoping to pick up some mood reads this month as well.

 

A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking

Something I am looking forward to, and equally expect to challenge me this month, is reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It is a book that I have wanted to get to for quite some time. As a non-fiction, it also goes towards my goal of reading more non-fiction throughout 2023.

Having read around about this book, I suspect it could get quite mathematical and/or scientific. If it is, I’ll hold my hands up and admit that’s not an element I’m going to get too invested in. I get no desire out of understanding the maths behind this sort of stuff. But, that’s not to say I’m not interested in the science or the history of our world as we know it.

At just over 250 pages, I’m not sure how this book is going to play out. It could be quite a quick read if I don’t get too invested or bogged down in the science. Equally, as it’s out of my comfort zone, it could take me longer to read. Only time will tell.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

Last month, I picked another book out of my TBR jar. For those of you uninitiated, I have a jar I have on my bookshelf that’s full of titles I have not yet read. In order to add some randomisation to my reading, I try and pull one out to read every month. Last month, I’ve pulled out Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine.

After borrowing a copy from the library just this afternoon, I started this book at lunch. I’m only a couple of chapters in so far, but it’s made a decent impression already. I’m not really sure where the narrative is going to go, but I’m along for the ride to find out.

 

Cytonic – Brandon Sanderson

When going to the library, I also wanted to have a browse for a second book to borrow. I deliberately didn’t set myself a particular book to take out as my second loan. I wanted to see what caught my eye when I got there.

Whilst looking for a book to pick up, I found that my library had a copy of Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson. This is the last instalment of a YA sci-fi series I want to finish, so I thought this would be perfect to take out and read. Not only do I get to pick up a fantastic book again, but once I’ve read it, I get to tick that series off my list as complete. That’s another goal I’ve set myself for this year!

 

Stretch Goal

 

Ship of Destiny – Robin Hobb

On the off-chance that I manage to get through all of the reading list I’ve set myself for July, I would like to start Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. You may recall that Ship of Destiny was on my June TBR. However, I didn’t get around to reading it, given my experience and some difficulty with one of my books last month.

At 903 pages, there is absolutely no way on this earth that I’m going to finish it in July. However, if I could even make a start on it, I’ll consider that a win!

 

So, those the books on my monthly TBR that I’m going to be picking up very, very soon! Have you read any of the books on this monthly TBR post?

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – June 2023

Hello friends and welcome to today’s monthly wrap-up post for June! Overall, it has been a very good month of reading. All the books I completed were five star reads. One blip I had in the month resulted in a book going on hold. It’s not so much that there is anything wrong with the book. However, I just found that trying to read it when I did wasn’t the right time. I’ll explain more about that later.

In my June TBR, I set myself an ambitious goal. I didn’t get around to one of the books at all, but that’s okay. It will still be waiting for me whenever I am ready to pick it up!

Shall we dive into this monthly wrap-up and take a look at what I read in the month of June?

 

Books Read

 

A Clash of Kings

I started off with a re-read of a favourite book. As I mentioned in a few other posts on my blog this year, there are rumblings about the next book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, (a.k.a. Game of Thrones), coming out in the near future. With that in mind, I wanted to start a re-read of the series this year, so I can pick this next instalment up whenever it comes out.

I really enjoyed going back to this second book in the series. Whilst I’ve read the first book more times than I have continued with the series, that’s not to say that they are any less good. I ended up making progress through this book in a variety of different ways. I predominantly read this book using my paperback copy, however, there were occasions where I dipped into my kindle version, and also the audiobook copy I have.

It’s rare that I will read a book like this. However, given the size of the book, and the effective time constraint I had set myself to read it (so I could get to the rest of my books in June), this ended up being a good way of helping me progress at times when I couldn’t physically pick the book up.

 

The Lost Metal

The next book I picked up in the month was the final instalment in the Mistborn second era, The Lost Metal. This book came out in November last year. Being a reasonably recent publication, getting copies of this book isn’t exactly the cheapest right now. Fortunately for me, my library had a copy. So, I decided to borrow this one.

Reading and finishing this book was a bittersweet experience. I absolutely love the book, the storyline, and all the characters we’ve come to know and love over this four-part series. The ending was great, even though it made me very mad. No spoilers, but the ending was incredibly clever, high-stakes and heartbreaking! Me being me, I ended up finishing this book quite late on one night as I couldn’t possibly put it down with just 50 pages left. It took me a long time to get to sleep that night as I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

I really hope Brandon Sanderson comes back to this series and writes a third era. Personally, I loved how he built upon his already established world. He created the brilliant first era trilogy, and then advanced upon it for the second era. If he can do the same thing again, then I’m excited to see what he comes up with.

 

The Midnight Library

Next, I decided to pick up a relatively short read. At just under 300 pages, this has to be one of the shortest books I’ve picked up in the year so far. It was no less impactful despite its size. The Midnight Library is a book that puts a strong lens on mental health and gives us readers a chance to explore what it might be like to feel as if you have nothing left to live for.

I would definitely recommend it to anybody to read at some point in their lifetime. Through this short narrative, we explore ideas of what it would be like to live different lives. How would our lives be different if we made a different decision at a given time? I went into this book knowing this was the concept and with some ideas of themes the book would explore. In reality, it ends up doing a lot more than that. When I purchased my copy of this book, the bookseller told me that it had changed his outlook on life. I would also agree.

Although the narrative follows of one character and her vast exploration of alternative lives she could have lived, and what she learns about herself in the process, I found myself thinking about myself in that same way. In a way, this book taught me about my fundamental beliefs. It taught me what was important to me, the things I would never change about myself, even if I had the chance. It taught me that I should, and can, appreciate even the smallest things… because they can make all the difference.

This was the first time I had ever read a book written by Matt Haig, and it definitely won’t be the last!

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The last book I picked up in the month was The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. Much like The Midnight Library, the author of this book was a new one to me. It is an author I had also heard great things about, so I went into the book wondering if I could live up to the hype. It definitely did!

I had initially started this book after recognising that Children of Dune wasn’t really working for me. I ended up starting the first couple of chapters, and then putting it down to try and push through Children of Dune, before ultimately coming back to it.  Whereas that book wasn’t working for me because it is a very serious, political science-fiction narrative, The House in the Cerulean Sea is quite the opposite. It is lighthearted and fantastical.

In this narrative, we experience the life of Linus Baker, a caseworker who was sent on a special assignment to a classified orphanage way outside of his normal life. The orphanage is classified because it is home to potentially dangerous magical children… and one of the residents in particular makes the governing body nervous.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is really a heartwarming read. It also ended up being an apt book to pick up in June (albeit I finished the book in July), as it contains a number of queer characters. I really enjoyed the relationships that built up throughout the narrative. Although that’s not something I actively seek out in a book, it ended up working really well in this narrative. It wasn’t forced or shoehorned in for the sake of inclusion. Rather, it felt very natural.

Based on my experience of this book, I will definitely be reading more of T.J. Klune.

 

DNF / Hold

Children of Dune

As I briefly mentioned above, I attempted to pick up and read Children of Dune this month. In the end, I only made it to around 150 pages before I decided that this particular read isn’t working for me right now.

The Dune series is a very serious and dense political science-fiction. It’s not the type of book that I can or will pick up every day. Whilst I have enjoyed the series so far, and to an extent, I did still enjoy what I read this month, I just didn’t have the mental stamina for it. The 150 pages I did read was done over the course of a week. As far as my reading speed goes, that’s terrible! I was also finding that I wanted to read, but I wasn’t reading very much of this book at a time (and that’s if I did my persuade myself to pick it up – there are plenty of times I distracted myself with other things deliberately).

In the end, I decided to own up to the fact that it wasn’t working, and I have put this book on hold for now.

 

Summary

I may not have gotten to all the books I intended to pick up in June, and although I have one book that I put on hold, I’ve had a good reading month otherwise. It’s rare to have read so many books that have been so highly rated and made such a profound effect on me. I’ve also discovered two new authors this month that I want to read more from in the future!

So, here concludes my monthly wrap-up post for June 2023! Have you read any of the books I picked up in the month of June? Are any of them on your reading list?

Check in on my blog later this week, as I will be sharing the books I intend to pick up throughout July. I hope you can join me for that!

 

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Sunday Summary – 25th June 2023

Happy Sunday friends – you know what time it is… I’m back with another Sunday Summary update!

I started off this week by sharing a Top Ten Tuesday post. The topic of that post was my top ten reads making up my Summer TBR. The list has a wide range of books and genres on it. They are the books I really want to prioritise reading over the next few months, and I can’t wait to get to each and every one.

Later in the week, it was time to share my next Friday feature with you. This week’s post was a First Lines Friday. I decided to set myself a challenge to feature the introduction to one of the books that made it onto Tuesday’s Summer TBR. You’ll be able to guess the book from the introduction, as it gives it away entirely!

 

Books Read

 

The Lost Metal

I left off last week’s Sunday Summary update with around 100 pages left to complete The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson. I kind of knew that I was going to push through and finish that book last Sunday. By the time I taken the book to bed to read some, I would then be so close to the end that I just wanted to power through and finish it. That’s exactly what I did! I can tell you now that I simultaneously loved the book, but it also made me very mad. If you know, you know.

I’m glad that I have read and finally finished the book. Although I will admit to being a little bit sad that second era Mistborn is now done. I really loved the characters in this series and how the world was developed to build upon the first era. I can only hope that a third era follows in future, and that we can expect even bigger and better things.

 

The Midnight Library

Moving on from The Lost Metal, I then decided to pick up a quick read, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

Having heard a lot of great things about Matt Haig and several of the books he has written and published, I went into this book with high hopes. I’m always wary of hyped books or authors, because it’s so easy to be disappointed. That is not the case with Matt Haig and The Midnight Library. When I bought my copy of this book, the seller in Waterstones told me that it was a book that changed his outlook on life completely. And I can see why. For such a small book, it has a big message to get readers to think about.

The book explores mental health and the impact events can have on our outlook. At a point where Nora is fed up of her current life, she decides to end it. However, in between life and death, she finds herself in an infinite library. A prominent character from her past reappears and gives Nora other chances at life – each encapsulated in a book. At every point where a decision was made, a new life branches off into infinite possibilities. And Nora tries plenty of them!

Ultimately, Nora comes to learn a lot about who she is and what she values. I really enjoyed the book and its message.

 

Children of Dune

Next, I started Children of Dune by Frank Herbert, and as of this Sunday Summary post, this is my main current read.

The Dune series by Frank Herbert is dense science-fiction, and it’s quite political as well. Initially I struggled to get back into this book. However, I think that’s because I tried to start it quite late one evening when I was tired. So, I didn’t quite get off to the best of starts with it. I ended up picking up another book very briefly that night in order to explore that one instead. More on that below.

I went back to Children of Dune the following day and found reading much easier. I’m definitely back into the narrative now that I really given myself the opportunity to do so. As of this Sunday Summary post, I am just over 100 pages into the book.

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

I briefly dipped my toes into The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. This book is one that has been on my reading list for a little while, and I pulled it out of my TBR jar to read in June.

For now, I’ve only made the briefest of introductions to the book. As I mentioned above, I started it as a trial when considering whether or not to put Children of Dune aside. As it happens, I am continuing with that book as my main read. However, first impressions of The House in the Cerulean Sea are very good.

I like the set up so far. It also proved easy enough to read whilst I was tired! I may end up reading this in tandem with Children of Dune, depending on my reading moods and/or abilities.

 

Books Discovered

With a few reads ticked off my TBR this week, in combination with no new books added, I can say that the reading list is going in the right direction!

For now…

 

Coming Up…

Next week, I want to share another book review with you. Having taken a look at my list of books pending review, I have decided to review Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Whilst this is definitely a book about women and for women in the workplace, I would recommend it to anybody. You can find out exactly why in my review next week!

Later on in the week, I will be sharing another instalment of my series, Well, I Didn’t Know That! Up until recently, I had been using an app called Readly in order to access magazines from different providers for a monthly subscription fee. It was only when I discovered that I could access a similar range using Kindle Unlimited, for a fractionally smaller price, that I decided to make the switch.

In addition to magazines, I can also access books through Kindle Unlimited. Overall, I think it will be a better deal accessing both via this platform. However, I am going to explore some of the content available through Kindle Unlimited with you to make my decision. That way, if you don’t already subscribe, you can find out what kind of magazines are out there… And I’ve got a good reason to explore the range for myself!

Next Sunday, I will be back with another Sunday Summary update post. I’m hoping to have plenty of reading progress to share with you, and I’ll be sharing how I’ll be gearing up for a busy blogging week.

That’s all for today’s Sunday Summary update. What have you read recently?

 

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Sunday Summary – 18th June 2023

Good evening all and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary. It’s a special day here, as it is Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there. I’ve enjoyed spending the day with mine. I know I’m completely biased in saying that mine is the best, but he is! 

I’ve kept myself busy on the reading and blogging front of this week. I started off the week in sharing my review of a Netgalley ARC I downloaded a couple of months ago – Death Magnanimous by Michael Martin. The book is due to come out around the 1st of July. With that in mind, I wanted to set out my thoughts ahead of publication. Although this is a book that handles some difficult themes, I think it does so very well. I really enjoyed the subject matter (and I hope you do too).

On Friday, I shared a Shelf Control post and featured a book that will be coming up on my TBR shortly. This particular book also made it to my 30 Before 30 list which I shared recently. If you’re interested to find out which of those books I plan to pick up in the very near future, here is a link to this post so you can find out!

 

Books Read

 

A Clash of Kings

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update, I had just 66 pages remaining of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. After sharing last week’s post, my plan was to finish the book that night… And finish it I did!

These books are brilliant, and they are books I could go back to again and again and enjoy just as much each time. It goes without saying that I really enjoyed diving back into the series. This second instalment is quite hefty, but it doesn’t really feel like it when you read it. The chapter lengths and changes in perspective suit me really well. I had already read a lot of this book last week, and I was happy to finally finish it off ready for a clean slate on Monday.

 

The Lost Metal

The next book I picked up, and have been reading for the rest of the week, is The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson. I chose this book to read next as it is slightly shorter than A Clash of Kings, and I didn’t want to jump into another chunky read straight after this one. The Lost Metal is still around 500 pages, so it couldn’t be called short. However, compared to A Clash of Kings, The Lost Metal is proving to be an easier read.

It’s been a little while since I last picked up the series, but it hasn’t been difficult to jump right back into the action. I also really love the second era Mistborn characters. Wax and Wayne, and the westernised setting of the books, works really well for me. I know that it’s not well suited to others, but I really enjoy it. The characters themselves also have a great dynamic and I’m enjoying their perspectives once again. I’ll almost be a little bit sad once I finish this book, as this is the end of second era Mistborn.

As of this Sunday Summary update, I have read just over 400 out of 500 pages. I’m hoping to go to bed not too late tonight, because I know I want to make more progress. But once I’ve made some progress, I’ll be keenly aware of how very close I am to the end. I have a bad habit of not being able to leave books once I get that close to the finish. I don’t doubt I’ll be pushing myself over the finish line tonight!

 

Books Discovered

I’m continuing my good streak of not adding any new books to my reading list. I’ve said it more than once but I will say it again. This is not a bad thing! If you take one look at my reading list on Goodreads, you will know I need absolutely zero help with expanding my TBR!

 

Coming Up…

The first post I intend to share with you next week is a Top Ten Tuesday post! It’s been a little while since I shared one of these features, but I’ve been holding out for a topic I’m interested in. Earlier this year, I shared my top ten books on my spring reading list. This time, I will be drafting a similar post, but for my summer reads. Whilst the weather is still looking good into next week, ironically, we’ve probably had our peak summer already! That doesn’t really matter though, as I’m not the type of person to pick traditionally seasonal reads. Not only that, but if the weather turns back cold/rainy/unpleasant, then that’s all the more justification to sit in with a good book, right?

On Friday, I’ll be returning with the next regular Friday feature due to come up on my blog. That post is a First Lines Friday. I’m in the mood to set myself a challenge for this post. I’m not going to set an overly difficult one here. On the theme of summer reads, I am going to feature one of the books that makes it to my top 10 summer reading list which I’m sharing earlier in the week.

As always, I’ll be back at the same time next week with another Sunday Summary to share all my reading updates with you, and let you know what I plan to share in the coming week.

That’s all for now! Have a wonderful evening and week and I will catch you in the next post! Happy reading!

 

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Monthly TBR – June 2023

Happy Friday and welcome to my monthly TBR post for June 2023.

Summer is here, and we’ve had a glorious stretch of weather for over a week now. So far, it looks set to continue! For motorbike fans, this is also good news as it means the TT is set to have a good run this year. I’m not one for bikes, but I’m not going to complain about the sunshine. I plan to enjoy some of it tonight whilst sitting out in the garden reading.

Speaking of which, how about we jump into the books I plan to read over the course of June?

 

Fixed Reads

I only have two fixed reads on my June TBR. Normally, I would have a minimum of two fixed books on a monthly TBR. However, I am not reading along with Ezeekat’s book club this month, as the particular book chosen is not my taste at all. I have no qualms with pushing boundaries, as I did last month even. However, this book has been chosen with Pride Month in mind. It’s a YA romance… which is just not my thing at all. I’ll keep an eye on the selection for next month and hopefully I’ll be back with the club soon.

Instead, my other fixed reads of the month hav only been put into this category as I have pulled them from myy TBR Jar or borrowed the book from the library. As it has a deadline to go back, I want to prioritise it.

 

The House in the Cerulean Sea

The first fixed read I will be picking up this month is The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I have seen a lot of press and good reviews about this book… this author, in fact!

I am yet to try any of his books. It is the synopsis of The House in the Cerulean Sea that has appealed to me the most. That’s why I’d like to start my journey with this author by trying this book. I added this to my TBR last year, and as a result, it has come up as this month’s TBR Jar selection.

 

The Lost Metal

As I mentioned above, I have borrowed a copy of The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson from my local library. Judging by the return card in the front of the book, this has been a popular one to take out!

I have read and enjoyed all of the Mistborn novels in the series so far. in particular, I really enjoy how the series has been split into two separate eras, and that there has been a lot of change between the two. Of the two series, I would say that the second era is my favourite. Naturally, I’m looking forward to continuing that era in picking up this fourth book.

I’ll be honest and say that until I read the synopsis of this book when I took out the loan, I didn’t really know much about what this story entailed. I’m reading this book as its continuing a series I already know I love!

 

Mood Reads

 

A Clash of Kings

My first mood read of the month also happens to be my current read. This year, I am setting out to re-read the Song of Ice and Fire series as we are expecting the publication of the sixth book in the series before too long. Naturally, I wanted to bring myself back up to date and with a refresh of the series.

A Clash of Kings is one of the two chunky reads on my June TBR. This one is no less than 873 pages, and as of this post, I am just about 100 in. I really enjoyed the introduction I’ve had so far, and I’m hoping to be able to make more progress quickly!

 

Ship of Destiny

The second chunky read on my June TBR is Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb. Regular readers on my blog will know that I have been reading books from the Realm of the Elderlings series since June last year.

Ship of Destiny is the sixth book in the overall series, and the final book of The Liveship Traders trilogy. I have been reading the books from the series at a reasonable pace. I’ve been able to keep on top of what is going on and who the characters are, but I’ve not sacrificed all reading in favour of these books alone. It’s a pace that I hope to continue, and I’m looking forward to seeing how events in The Liveship Traders trilogy so far, conclude.

As I said, Ship of Destiny is the second chunky book on this TBR. Weighing in at just over 900 pages, it’s safe to say I could double this up as a weapon and knock somebody out with it if required…

 

Children of Dune

Another series that makes it onto this monthly TBR is Dune by Frank Herbert.

Children of Dune is the third book of the Dune series. I confess it has been a little bit longer since I read Dune Messiah, but I’m confident that I will get right back into it as soon as I pick this up. With having multiple fantasy books on this TBR, I’m looking forward to picking up a science-fiction novel for a change of genre. This book selection also goes towards my overarching goal for 2023 of continuing ongoing series as opposed to picking up new books.

 

The Midnight Library

The last book on my monthly TBR I’m hoping to read in June is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. This is another book that I have heard rave reviews about, and significant praise for the author across multiple books. When I purchased my copy of this book, it came highly recommended by the bookseller. He said that this book changed his outlook on life. If I wasn’t intrigued already, and you can be sure that captured my interest even more.

The Midnight Library is the shortest book on my June TBR, at just under 290 pages. I don’t think it will surprise you when I say that I will be looking forward to a shorter read at some point this month… considering the epics I already have on this list!

 

That is my monthly TBR for June – wish me luck! In order to get through this months reading list, I need to average reading 113 pages a day. Am I confident I’ll do it? No. Am I willing to push myself and rise to the challenge? Yes!

Have you read any of the books I feature in my June TBR?

 

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