Tag: downthetbrhole

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #17

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

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

To recap, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story and the idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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

 

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

Goodreads – The Kennedy Brothers

 

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

Verdict: Keep

 

Crown and Country: A History of England Through the Monarchy

Goodreads – Crown and Country

 

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

Verdict: Keep

 

Merchants of Virtue (The Huguenot Connection trilogy Book 1)

Goodreads – Merchants of Virtue

 

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

Verdict: Keep

 

The Saint’s Rise (Ignifer Cycle, #1)

Goodreads – The Saint’s Rise

 

No heroes endure…

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

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

The Incendium Plot (Christopher Radcliff, #1)

Goodreads – The Incendium Plot

 

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

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

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

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

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

Verdict: Keep

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

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

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary: 9th December 2018

Good evening everyone! Have you all had a lovely weekend? I can’t believe it’s Sunday evening already… doesn’t the time just fly by!

I’ve started drafting today’s post a little later than usual because I upgraded to the new WordPress editor. I had heard some bad things about it – it appeared a lot more functional than the previous editor. Haha… what a joke. What started out to be a not-so-bad experience turned horrendous. After about 45 minutes of trying to format my post in the new editor I cut my losses, downloaded the classic editor plugin and started again. It’s the best decision I (and 800,000 other users) have made.

So… what have I been up to this week? I had the pleasure of taking part in an exciting Blog Tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources on Tuesday. Facing a Twisted Judgment by K. J. McGillick is a thrilling read. After a newlywed woman disappears along with artwork worth millions, her husband is suspect number one. As the evidence stacks up against him, we dig into the investigation through the eyes of Dalia.

On Thursday I wrote about my recent “more relaxed” approach to reading and how it is working out for me. I’ve decided to stick it out for another month and so I have committed which books I’ll be reading in my Reading List for December.

In between all this, as well as my reading, I have desperately been trying to catch up with watching I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! I love the show, but it is very full on. I might normally turn on the TV once a week or so – having to watch at least one episode every day to try to keep up (not even to catch up the week I was already behind) is tough going. Is anyone else watching it? What do you make of this year’s campmates?

 

Books Read

 

The number one priority at the beginning of this week was to finish reading Facing a Twisted Judgment. I’ll hold my hands up and say I left it too late to read it. I don’t like to cut it that fine, but I have been struggling with some other books lately which delayed starting this book. I had the book read by about 9:30pm the night before my tour post was due to go live, so I just went straight in for the review. If there is one positive that comes out of that, is that my thoughts and feelings were very fresh. I finished drafting that post gone 11pm that night… which was not so good for my sleeping pattern. It’s my own fault so I can’t complain.

With the pressure taken off me, I decided to pick up Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Imagine a world in which the media is designed to only make you happy by indoctrination, emotionally detaching you from other people, war, tragedy etc. Can you imagine a world without books? Nope… me neither. I read this book in a matter of a few evenings just before bed. It is so easy to read and so poignant, I’m glad I picked it up; I’ve wanted to for such a long time!

The next read (and my current work in progress) is The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire. Having learned my lesson with Facing A Twisted Judgment, I am starting this book early. I’m due to tour with it in the New Year – no one can suggest I won’t be prepared for this one! I’ve made a respectable start (17%) on this one considering I only picked it up on Friday night. I’ve had quite a busy weekend and so I’m looking forward to delving a bit further into this book next week!

 

Books Discovered

I have been very restrained this week in terms of book buying. Well, it is nearly Christmas after all! I have to leave some present ideas for people, right? I probably won’t get any books anyway – it’s only me that has the book-bug in this family.  That’s the whole reason I started this blog! If I don’t have an outlet to talk about it to, I might just burst!! Okay, slight exaggeration… I’d just bore a lot of uninterested people to death instead.

Instead, I have signed up for a number of blog tours coming up between January-March next year. Watch this space for news of those closer to the time!

 

Coming Up…

It has been a long while since I reviewed a book that hasn’t been part of a blog tour. I was going through a phase of being practically caught up on my reviews, but I have plenty of breathing room now. I initially read the book I‘ll be reviewing back in October. The Silent Patient is an ARC I have been sent for review and I really enjoyed it. Again, this was another book I read extremely quickly. If I had the willpower to forego sleep, I would have done so just to finish this book sooner!

 

 

 

down the tbr holeIt has been a couple of weeks since I published a Down the TBR Hole post, so I also plan to whittle down the TBR a little more next week. I have 188 books on the list – it really isn’t going down all that much! I think I am my own worst enemy…

 

In terms of reading progress, I want to finish The Road to Alexander. I am reading this well in advance but I have also made a few commitments in reading terms for next year, so I’ll thank myself for the head start in future.

In addition to this, I also want to start reading Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares by Shaun Hume. This is the second book of the series he is writing and he has kindly asked for a review. I really enjoyed the first book, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith (fun fact –the first book I reviewed on request ever) so I can’t wait to give my feedback on this latest release!

 

That is how my week is shaping up… how about yours?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 25th November 2018

Hi guys!

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

Yes, I said it. Christmas. Shopping.

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Books Read

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

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

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

 

Books Discovered

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

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

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

 

Coming Up…

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

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

 

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

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

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #16

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

To recap, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next ten books on my list!

The Birth of Death – Joseph Macolino

Goodreads – The Birth of Death

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Bin

Thirteen – Steve Cavanagh

Goodreads – Thirteen

THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.

HE’S ON THE JURY…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

The Traveler –Fredric Shernoff

Goodreads – The Traveler

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

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

A fun, scary and sophisticated game of reflections and doppelgangers

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Bin

The Good Samaritan – John Marrs

Goodreads – The Good Samaritan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

Sleepyhead – Mark Billingham

Goodreads – Sleepyhead

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

A Suitable Lie – Michael J. Malone

Goodreads – A Suitable Lie

Some secrets should never be kept. . . .

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Words of Radiance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

Too Like the Lightning – Ada Palmer

Goodreads – Too Like The Lightning

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Bin

Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames

Goodreads -Kings of The Wyld

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Bin

The Iron King – Maurice Druon

Goodreads – The Iron King

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

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

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #15

It’s time for another Down the TBR hole post; it’s been a while since I last reviewed my reading list.

To recap, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, without further adieu, let’s review the next ten books on my list!

 

That Inevitable Victorian Thing – E. K. Johnston

Goodreads – That Inevitable Victorian Thing

Set in a near-future world where the British Empire was preserved, not by the cost of blood and theft but by effort of repatriation and promises kept, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendant of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.

 

When I added this book to the TBR, it is because I was enticed by the history behind the book; particularly, the influence of Victoria I’s reign.

Having read the synopsis again though, I have to admit it’s lost its appeal. I don’t deny that this will probably make for an enjoyable read for someone, I am not so sure it’s my cup of tea.

Verdict: Bin

 

Before It’s Too Late – Sara Driscoll

Goodreads – Before It’s Too Late

In this powerful K-9 crime thriller, FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and her trusted search-and-rescue Labrador, Hawk, must race against the clock before a diabolical killer strikes again…

Somewhere in the Washington, D.C., area, a woman lies helpless in a box. Beneath the earth. Barely breathing. Buried alive. In Quantico, the FBI receives a coded message from the woman’s abductor. He wants to play a game with them: decipher the clues, find the grave, save the girl. The FBI’s top cryptanalysts crack the code and Special Agent Meg Jennings and her K-9 partner, Hawk, scramble to the scene of the crime. Cryptic clues lead them astray and by the time they solve the puzzle, it’s too late. But the killer’s game is far from over . . .

Soon another message arrives. Another victim is taken, and the deadly pattern is repeated–again and again. Each kidnapping triggers another desperate race against time, each with the possibility of another senseless death. That’s when Meg decides to try something drastic. Break the Bureau’s protocol. Bring in her brilliant sister, Cara, a genius at word games, to decipher the kidnapper’s twisted clues. Meg knows she’s risking her career to do it, but she’s determined not to let one more person die under her and Hawk’s watch. If the plan fails, it could bite them in the end. And if it leads to the killer, it could bury them forever . . .

 

I added this book to the list about a year ago, but this one keeps my interest! Not only do I think this would be exciting to read, but I want to know if I could figure it out if I was in Jennings’ shoes. I can totally see myself devouring this in one sitting…

Verdict: Keep

 

Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

Goodreads – Moonrise

‘They think I hurt someone.
But I didn’t. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.’

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

 

I must have added this off the back of a review because the synopsis doesn’t give away much. Rarely do I resort to reading some spoiler-free reviews for a hint.

This book written in poetry form, which I didn’t know. I’m intrigued by the subject matter, but I don’t get along with poetry and it put me off this book. I’m sorry, but I’ve changed my mind on this book too.

Verdict: Bin

 

Soul of the Fire – Terry Goodkind

Goodreads – Soul of the Fire

Richard Rahl has traveled far from his roots as a simple woods guide. Emperor of the D’Haran Empire, war wizard, the Seeker of Truth—none of these roles mean as much to him as his newest: husband to his beloved Kahlan Amnell, Mother Confessor of the Midlands.

But their wedding is the key that unlocks a spell sealed away long ago in a faraway country. Now a deadly power pours forth that threatens to turn the world into a lifeless waste.

Separated from the Sword of Truth and stripped of their magic, Richard and Kahlan must journey across the Midlands to discover a dark secret from the past and a trap that could tear them apart forever. For their fate has become inextricably entwined with that of the Midlands—and there’s no place so dangerous as a world without magic…

 

I have actually read a part of Soul of the Fire before. I discovered this series in my school library, of all places! It has been years since I last picked up any of the books though. I can remember parts of the plot, but I would benefit from a re-visit before I pick up this book again.

One thing is for sure; I will pick up this book again. One day.

Verdict: Keep

 

Mr. Mercedes – Stephen King

Goodreads – Mr Mercedes

Now an AT&T Audience Original Series

WINNER OF THE EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
#1 New York Times bestseller! In a high-suspense race against time, three of the most unlikely heroes Stephen King has ever created try to stop a lone killer from blowing up thousands. “Mr. Mercedes is a rich, resonant, exceptionally readable accomplishment by a man who can write in whatever genre he chooses” (The Washington Post).

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

 

This book comes so highly recommended to me that I cannot say no. I have had several people say that I will enjoy this – I have no doubt I will. I love Stephen King’s writing so far. His understanding of how people think is both astounding and scary at the same time. This is a definite keeper.

Verdict: Keep

 

Gerald’s Game – Stephen King

Goodreads – Gerald’s Game

Stephen King cranks up the suspense in a different kind of bedtime story. A game of seduction between a husband and wife goes horribly awry when the husband dies. But the nightmare has just begun…

 

This book comes so highly recommended to me that I cannot say no. I have had several people say that I will enjoy this – I have no doubt I will. I love Stephen King’s writing so far. His understanding of how people think is both astounding and scary at the same time. This is a definite keeper.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Goodreads – The Bone Season

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

 

Reviews are very hit-and-miss on this book! Yes, I’ve referred to reviews again. Based on the synopsis, I’m totally on the fence. I can’t say I’m inspired based on the reviews either. Some YA fans even found this either difficult or dull, but others loved it. As I don’t read YA that often, I’m not sure how well this book is going to sit with me after all. If I am teetering one way more than the other, it’s for this book to go. Maybe I’ll come back to it in the future…

Verdict: Bin

 

A Plague of Giants – Kevin Hearne

Goodreads – A Plague of Giants

In the start of a compelling new series, the New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles creates an unforgettable fantasy world of warring giants and elemental magic.

In the city of Pelemyn, Fintan the bard takes to the stage to tell what really happened the night the giants came . . .

From the east came the Bone Giants, from the south, the fire-wielding Hathrim – an invasion that sparked war across the six nations of Teldwen. The kingdom’s only hope is the discovery of a new form of magic that calls the world’s wondrous beasts to fight by the side of humankind.

 

After reading reviews of this book, I pre-ordered it straightaway. That’s how captivated I am! This is a definite keeper too! Fantasy, magic and war… who could ask for more?

Verdict: Keep

 

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Goodreads – Brave New World

Brave New World is a dystopian novel written in 1931 by English author Aldous Huxley, and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State of genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that are combined to make a utopian society that goes challenged only by a single outsider.

 

This classic has been on my list pretty much since I became a serious blogger. Taking encouragement from re-reading and enjoying 1984 and Of Mice and Men (books I studied in school and hated at the time), I decided I want to read more classics. Variety is the spice of life, so they say. Based on the subject matter, I also think there is a lot to learn and think about.

Verdict: Keep

 

A Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death That Changed the British Monarchy – Helen Rappaport

Goodreads – A Magnificient Obsession

As she did in her critically acclaimed The Last Days of the Romanovs, Helen Rappaport brings a compelling documentary feel to the story of this royal marriage and of the queen’s obsessive love for her husband – a story that began as fairy tale and ended in tragedy.

After the untimely death of Prince Albert, the queen and her nation were plunged into a state of grief so profound that this one event would dramatically alter the shape of the British monarchy. For Britain had not just lost a prince: during his twenty year marriage to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert had increasingly performed the function of King in all but name. The outpouring of grief after Albert’s death was so extreme, that its like would not be seen again until the death of Princess Diana 136 years later.

Drawing on many letters, diaries and memoirs from the Royal Archives and other neglected sources, as well as the newspapers of the day, Rappaport offers a new perspective on this compelling historical psychodrama–the crucial final months of the prince’s life and the first long, dark ten years of the Queen’s retreat from public view. She draws a portrait of a queen obsessed with her living husband and – after his death – with his enduring place in history. Magnificent Obsession will also throw new light on the true nature of the prince’s chronic physical condition, overturning for good the 150-year old myth that he died of typhoid fever.

 

Victorian history creeps up again! A Magnificent Obsession delves into far more depth about the British monarchy and their roles in history. I don’t typically read much in the way of biographies, but I think this could make for an interesting read. I also don’t know that much intimate detail of this period, so I think I could learn plenty of new things!

Verdict: Keep

So, I’ve taken three books off the list! I am surprised! I half expected that as I went on, more books would remain on the list. Why? Well, I added these books far more recently than those when I first began reviewing my TBR. The oldest books on my list were added four years ago; I expected my reading tastes from only a year ago now to be more similar.

Have you read any of the books on my list? Do you agree with my choices? Let me know in the comments!

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #14

 Hi everyone! Today, I am going to be reviewing my TBR with another Down the TBR hole post!

For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

 

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

 

Carrie – Stephen King

Goodreads – Carrie

Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed… But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction…

 

I refuse to take Carrie off of my list. It is a book I really want to read, as it is one of King’s better known titles. If not the book, there are plenty of people who have seen the film. My parents fall in the latter category and they recommended it to me as well. It’s a keeper!

Verdict: Keep

 

American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis

Goodreads – American Psycho

Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and he works on Wall Street, he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to head-on collision with America’s greatest dream—and its worst nightmare—American Psycho is bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognise but do not wish to confront.

 

I have sat and read reviews of this book for about 20 minutes solid, and I am REALLY undecided. When I added the book, I expected a sociopathic murderer. It seems that there is far more to this book than I initially expected. I can’t decide if I want to read it or not. It is graphic in its descriptions and… shall we say, not very complimentary to women. A part of me wants to be repulsed and the other is curious about why others are massacring this book/author. 

Curiosity killed the cat, but I’ll take my chances.

Verdict: Keep

 

In the Blood – Steve Robinson

Goodreads – In the Blood

Two hundred years ago a loyalist family fled to England to escape the American War of Independence and seemingly vanished into thin air. American genealogist Jefferson Tayte is hired to find out what happened, but it soon becomes apparent that a calculated killer is out to stop him.

In the Blood combines a centuries-old mystery with a present-day thriller that brings two people from opposite sides of the Atlantic together to uncover a series of carefully hidden crimes. Tayte’s research centres around the tragic life of a young Cornish girl, a writing box, and the discovery of a dark secret that he believes will lead him to the family he is looking for. Trouble is, someone else is looking for the same answers and will stop at nothing to find them.

In the Blood is the first book in the Jefferson Tayte mystery series.

 

I first became acquainted with this series when I found The Last Queen of England (book 3) on Goodreads. From there, I read about the first book and the synopsis is really interesting. I think the emphasis on the family genealogy makes for an interesting plot, so I’m going to be reading this book in the future.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Stone in the Skull – Elizabeth Bear

Goodreads – The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull, the first volume in her new trilogy, takes readers over the dangerous mountain passes of the Steles of the Sky and south into the Lotus Kingdoms.

The Gage is a brass automaton created by a wizard of Messaline around the core of a human being. His wizard is long dead, and he works as a mercenary. He is carrying a message from a the most powerful sorcerer of Messaline to the Rajni of the Lotus Kingdom. With him is The Dead Man, a bitter survivor of the body guard of the deposed Uthman Caliphate, protecting the message and the Gage. They are friends, of a peculiar sort.

They are walking into a dynastic war between the rulers of the shattered bits of a once great Empire.

 

Whatever it was that compelled me to add this to the TBR a year ago has pretty much gone.

I must have been looking for other fantasy books to read, but this one just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.

Verdict: Bin

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco

Goodreads – Stalking Jack the Ripper

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

 

I just love the sound of this novel… and the historical ties hinted at within too. I used to watch Ripper Street – it was one of my favourite TV shows, before they stopped it! ARGH! Ahem, anyway… it’s the perfect time period. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t all for a woman breaking the conventions society have built for her, because you know, they were oppressive.

Verdict: Keep

 

Consider Phlebas – Iain M. Banks

Goodreads – Consider Phlebas

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

 

I added this because I saw a great review for it I’ve been trying to incorporate more sci-fi into my reading, but on looking back at this, it might be too much. I’m not great when it comes to technical details and I just feel this is going to be a bit too hard-hitting for me.

Verdict: Bin

 

The Scorch Trials – James Dashner

Goodreads – The Scorch Trials

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

 

I enjoyed reading The Maze Runner last year. It was the rare exception in which I had watched the film first. Did I love it enough to continue with the series? I’m not so sure anymore. I feel that the demographic the series was written for doesn’t really suit me anymore. If I were to read this, I think it would be forced… and that’s not a way to enjoy a book. Time to call it a day, I think.

Verdict: Bin

 

Invictus – Ryan Graudin

Goodreads – Invictus

Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

 

I like the time travel concept behind this plot. It is one of the science fiction themes I CAN get my head around. I’m also intrigued by the heist on the Titanic, as it grounds the story to something familiar. Sometimes, time travel (for me anyway) can get confusing if it is all based in the future, or without some kind of “landmark”. I think this will make an enjoyable read, so it’s staying on the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

99 Red Balloons – Elisabeth Carpenter

Goodreads – 99 Red Balloons

Two girls go missing, decades apart. What would you do if one was your daughter?

When eight-year-old Grace goes missing from a sweetshop on the way home from school, her mother Emma is plunged into a nightmare. Her family rallies around, but as the police hunt begins, cracks begin to emerge.

What are the secret emails sent between Emma’s husband and her sister? Why does her mother take so long to join the search? And is Emma really as innocent as she seems?

Meanwhile, ageing widow Maggie Taylor sees Grace’s picture in the newspaper. It’s a photograph that jolts her from the pain of her existence into a spiralling obsession with another girl – the first girl who disappeared…

 

I was so sure I was going to enjoy reading this book when I originally added it to the list. Having read the synopsis again, I stand by my decision. It’s the kind of drama I would watch on TV… if I watched TV. I hardly watch it lately and yet I’m stupid enough to pay for it! Anyway… I digress. This kind of mystery is right up my street. I think this may be getting bumped up the list.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Sun God’s Heir: Return – Elliott Baker

Goodreads – The Sun God’s Heir: Return

The Sun God’s Heir is a swashbuckling series, set at the end of the seventeenth century in France, Spain and northern Africa. Slavery is a common plague along the European coast and into this wild time, an ancient Egyptian general armed with dark arts has managed to return and re-embody, intent on recreating the reign of terror he began as Pharaoh. René Gilbert must remember his own lifetime at the feet of Akhenaten to have a chance to defeat Horemheb. A secret sect has waited in Morocco for three thousand years for his arrival.

 

I remember being really excited for this when I first saw it. I bought a copy straight away.

I’m not saying that I’ve changed my mind – I still think this will make for an enjoyable read. I am just a little less enthused than I was then.

I have a copy, so I’ll keep it and try it. You never know… I might come to love it! So… that’s the list! Have you read any of these books? Is there anything you would change? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 12th August 2018

It’s the end of another week friends! Have you all had a good one? It’s been a pretty good one here, I have to say. Despite it being a normal working week, I’ve had the pleasure of reading some pretty fantastic books. That’s what counts, right?

I really enjoyed writing my review for Children of Blood & Bone this week. I think the book is fantastic and I am so glad it has received such a positive reception. Interestingly, I also saw Tomi Adeyemi on BBC News… in which she said that a film was being made of the book! I’ve read the book first, so that’s license to go and watch the film when it’s out. That is if they show it here…

On Friday I also published the latest Down the TBR Hole post, with little success in clearing out the list. I only binned off one book, but at least I know I still want to read the other nine I reviewed. What can I say; I just have good taste in books!

 

Books Read

This week feels like a really productive one!

I have been reading The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and I will say, it is quite a dense read. Since last week I have progressed from around 20% to 47%. I’m nearly half way! It is hard going at times though. It’s not that the book isn’t enjoyable… it is just that there is a lot going on and a lot of information to process. I’ve found that I read it better when I take breaks and read something else in between chapters.

For a few days, that “something else” has been Individutopia by Joss Sheldon. I would argue that this book is more political type fiction than I would normally read, but I have enjoyed it though! I finished this last night as I listened to the rain belting against the window and the wind howling (perfect reading weather, imho). I’m going to be sharing my thoughts with you really soon, so stay tuned. Reading this book in between has also been useful as I am pretty up to date with reviews – spending too long on Eye of the World would make me struggle for content. It’s a win-win situation.

In the same vein as Individutopia, I have started reading The Relic Guild in between chapters of The Eye of the World. I am only a few chapters in so far, having only started the book last night. I’m enjoying it because it is the first physical book I have picked up in a wee while. Kindles are great for practicality, but they don’t quite replace the real thing though.

Last, but by no means least – I FUFILLED MY PROMISE TO FINISH NEVERNIGHT!!

It’s been a long time coming, but I got there in the end. I tend to listen to audiobooks when getting ready for work in the morning. Lately, I’ve not been sleeping so well – so in the morning I’m too tired to even try to follow it. I’ve done it though! Moving onwards and upwards, I’m listening to Godsgrave next!

 

 

Books Discovered

This feels pretty much like the story of my life. Remember I took one book off the TBR in Friday’s installment of Down the TBR Hole?

Yeah, well I’ve already replaced it.

As I also think I established in that post, I have a particular love for Tudor history – especially Henry VIII. I am really interested in the history of the monarch himself, and his wives, so adding this book to the list was a no-brainer. I saw that the book was on offer for £1.99 – it would have been rude not to?

I’ll tell myself that.

 

 

Coming Up…

IndividutopiaSo, as I previously mentioned, I am going to be sharing my thoughts of Individutopia with you next week! I found the book really easy to read, even though the setting and mindset of our main character was a little extraordinary. If you want to find out more, please check out my review on Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

I am also going to be starting another mini-series, friends! I’ve been thinking for a little while about how many books I have read before starting my blog. It’s quite a few! Therefore, to incorporate these books on my blog, I am going to be writing mini-reviews of them! I cannot promise that they are hugely specific (as I read them a long time ago) – but it may just be enough to either introduce a new series to you all, or find other like-minded friends!

I’ll be writing my first post on Thursday!

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #13

Hi everyone – welcome to another Down the TBR hole post!

For anyone unfamiliar with how this post works, the meme was created by Lia @ Lost in A Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Shall we review the next ten books on my list?

 

The Elizabethan World – Lacey Baldwin Smith

Goodreads – The Elizabethan World

The Elizabethan World was a world remade. At the dawn of the sixteenth century, Europe was emerging from an age of ignorance and uncertainty. New lands were being discovered and old ones revitalized. People abandoned the ideals of medieval times to make startling advances in technology, science, and art. Here, award-winning historian Lacey Baldwin Smith vividly brings to life the story of Queen Elizabeth – perhaps the most influential sovereign in England’s history – and the age she created.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth, last of the Tudor monarchs, presided over developments that still shape and inform our lives and culture today, including her patronage of William Shakespeare, the formation of the Church of England, victory over the Spanish Armada, even the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Smith’s keen eye for detail and sense of how those details have echoed through the centuries make this book essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how history works.

 

The Tudor period is my favourite topic of history. I don’t know why I love it so much… it was quite a morbid time (especially for Henry VIII’s wives). I studied the subject extensively at school, and loved watching the TV series with Jonathan Rhys Meyers a couple of years ago.

There is definitely no question about keeping this book on the list!

Verdict: Keep

 

Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn – Malyn Bromfield

Goodreads – Mayflowers for November: The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn

A novel depicting Anne Boleyn’s dramatic downfall through the eyes of a servant in the court of Henry the Eighth.

Avis Grinnel’s life is forever changed when a young musician arrives unexpectedly to escort her to the innermost sanctum of King Henry VIII’s royal court.

However, it is not the king who has demanded her presence but his new queen, the much-disliked Anne Boleyn.

She has been told Avis is a “little cunning wench who has the sight” and demands she uses her powers to divine whether the queen is pregnant with a girl, or with the boy child the king expects.

From the moment she gives her fateful answer, Avis becomes embroiled in an extravagant world of intrigue, deceit and murderous plotting that is far removed from her lowly home life in the king’s kitchens at Greenwich Palace.

She becomes an unwilling participant and watcher in the alliances and misplaced loyalties of court life as the King wages religious war with the Pope and the churches while changing wives and mistresses in his relentless pursuit of a male heir.

Whispers, lies and rumours abound as the Queen fights for her survival and Avis struggles to balance her life of opulence in the royal chambers with the humble world of her baker parents and a mysterious suitor.

Her story is revealed partly as it unfolds and partly as a deeply-felt memory told to the faithful blind White Boy, who has been at her side for most of her life.

The brutal ending of Anne Boleyn’s reign is already known and written into history but this dramatic and vividly drawn story records the stark reality with an intricate and colourful portrayal of life at all levels in Tudor England.

 

I must have been in a history-buff mood this day, as I added this at the same time as The Elizabethan World. Anne Boleyn is one of the most memorable and controversial wives of Henry VIII. Naturally, I want to remind myself of her life story.

Verdict: Keep

 

Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup

Goodreads – Twelve Years a Slave

Twelve Years a Slave, sub-title: Narrative of Solomon Northup, citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana, is a memoir by Solomon Northup as told to and edited by David Wilson. It is a slave narrative of a black man who was born free in New York state but kidnapped in Washington, D.C., sold into slavery, and kept in bondage for 12 years in Louisiana. He provided details of slave markets in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans, as well as describing at length cotton and sugar cultivation on major plantations in Louisiana.

 

The release of the film inspired me to read this book. I’m firmly in the camp of books-are-better-than-the-film-adaptations, so reading it first is a must.

Verdict: Keep

 

Bad Girls from History: Wicked or Misunderstood – Dee Gordon

Goodreads – Bad Girls from History

You won’t be familiar with every one of the huge array of women featured in these pages, but all, familiar or not, leave unanswered questions behind them. The range is extensive, as was the research, with its insight into the lives and minds of women in different centuries, different countries, with diverse cultures and backgrounds, from the poverty stricken to royalty. Mistresses, murderers, smugglers, pirates, prostitutes and fanatics with hearts and souls that feature every shade of black (and grey!). From Cleopatra to Ruth Ellis, from Boudicca to Bonnie Parker, from Lady Caroline Lamb to Moll Cutpurse, from Jezebel to Ava Gardner. Less familiar names include Mary Jeffries, the Victorian brothel-keeper, Belle Starr, the American gambler and horse thief, La Voisin, the seventeenth-century Queen of all Witches in France but these are random names, to illustrate the variety of the content in store for all those interested in women who defy law and order, for whatever reason. The risqu’, the adventurous and the outrageous, the downright nasty and the downright desperate all human (female!) life is here. From the lower strata of society to the aristocracy, class is not a common denominator. Wicked? Misunderstood? Nave? Foolish? Predatory? Manipulative? Or just out of their time? Read and decide.

 

Whilst I have no doubt that the women in these pages are interesting, I don’t know. I’ve lost enthusiasm to read it. There isn’t any point forcing myself to read it when I know I don’t want to. This is the first casualty of the TBR Hole today. 

Verdict: Bin

 

How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

Goodreads – How to be A Woman

Though they have the vote and the Pill and haven’t been burned as witches since 1727, life isn’t exactly a stroll down the catwalk for modern women. They are beset by uncertainties and questions: Why are they supposed to get Brazilians? Why do bras hurt? Why the incessant talk about babies? And do men secretly hate them? Caitlin Moran interweaves provocative observations on women’s lives with laugh-out-loud funny scenes from her own, from adolescence to her development as a writer, wife, and mother.

 

On the whole, I’m not a huge fan of women’s literature. The one notable exception I have read (part of and is subject to a re-read) is I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson. To keep my attention, this “genre” needs the humour to keep me turning the pages… and something inside me says I’ll like this one.

Based on the last two books on the list, you’d think I was a feminist!

Verdict: Keep

 

After the Fire – Will Hill

Goodreads – After the Fire

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

 

If I’m 100% honest, I’m keeping this on the list as I have heard so many others rave about this book. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary novels. I started this blog to give new books a try though – so where better to start than here?

Verdict: Keep

 

Soul Identity – Dennis Batchelder

Goodreads – Soul Identity

You can’t take it with you… but what if you could? Most people believe their souls outlive their bodies. Most people would find an organization that tracks their souls into the future and passes on their banked money and memories compelling. Scott Waverly isn’t like most people. He spends his days finding and fixing computer security holes. And Scott is skeptical of his new client’s claim that they have been calculating and tracking soul identities for almost twenty-six hundred years. Are they running a freaky cult? Or a sophisticated con job? Scott needs to save Soul Identity from an insider attack. Along the way, he discovers the importance of the bridges connecting people’s lives.

 

It’s not very often I get a book recommendation from my Dad. He isn’t much of a reader, except on holiday really. If a book catches his eye, then I trust his judgement. I’m quite interested by the combination of science-fiction and crime element… it’s not a combination you see every day.

Verdict: Keep

 

The Bone Collector – Jeffrey Deaver

Goodreads – The Bone Collector

Lincoln Rhyme was once a brilliant criminologist, a genius in the field of forensics — until an accident left him physically and emotionally shattered. But now a diabolical killer is challenging Rhyme to a terrifying and ingenious duel of wits. With police detective Amelia Sachs by his side, Rhyme must follow a labyrinth of clues that reaches back to a dark chapter in New York City’s past — and reach further into the darkness of the mind of a madman who won’t stop until he has stripped life down to the bone.

 

My sister bought us a copy of this book to share/read MONTHS ago… she was going to read it first and then pass it on to me. I think either she has forgotten, or is hoping I’ve forgotten because she wants to keep it so much!

Sister dear, if you want to keep it, I’ll get my own copy.

I also had an interesting bookish conversation at work today… and I think the person I was talking to might like this as well. I’ll drop them an email on Monday! Usually, when I start talking about books, this is the kind of reaction I get:-

Verdict: Keep

 

The Librarian of Auschwitz – Antonio Iturbe

Goodreads – The Librarian of Auschwitz

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

 

  1. This is a book about Auschwitz
  2. This is a book about a girl who risks her life to keep books

I’d be a fool to take this off my list! If anything, I am bumping this up further – I’d forgotten I’d added it to the list!

Verdict: Keep

 

Killing Floor – Lee Child

Goodreads – Killing Floor

Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell.

 

My granddad read these books… or so mum tells me. Lee Child was one of his favourite authors (together with Wilbur Smith), so I want to give these books a try to see if I will like them too.

Verdict: Keep

 

I am binning one book this time – lame! Aha! Oh well, at least I know that I genuinely still want to read these books. That is the point of the exercise after all!

Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 5th August 2018

 Howdy all! I hope you have had a marvellous weekend! It’s been a humid one here, but blessedly dry – so I cannot complain!

This week has been a good one for a number of reasons. On Tuesday I published my reading list for August. I have FINALLY gotten around to reading a book that has been on my list for ages! More on that later.

On Friday I posted my thoughts on whether we are doing enough to encourage children to read. It is based on research studies of the reading habits of “the average adult”. Not to come across as passing judgement when writing the post, but I was quite surprised at the findings. I apologise if I did come across that way; I cannot help that I am biased. The post seemed to be well received though, with some interesting comments and shares on social media.

I was inspired to write the post originally as I disliked reading books on the school curriculum growing up.

The final post ended up being written from a different angle completely, but ultimately, the point is the same.

I was also excited to be contacted by an author yesterday in relation to an ARC I’ve been hoping to get a copy of. The book’s release is coming up shortly and I have been keeping an eye out for any news. It looks like I am not going to be disappointed! No further details as yet… but I’ll spill the beans as soon as I can!

 

Books Read

I finished A Children of Blood & Bone and DAMN – that ending!! Some books you can just see pan out before you read it, but I was kept guessing right to the end with this one! I loved the book, its theme and the fantasy realm of Orïsha. The next book in the series, Children of Virtue and Vengeance is expected to be published next year – I can’t wait to read it already!

Next, I started the first book on August’s TBR… and it has a book I have been trying to read for months! The Eye of the World is the first book of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It has been on my list of books to read on the recommendation of a friend of mine. I believe she has read all of the series (or at least most of it), so I want to see if it’s my cup of tea. I’m about 20% through so far, and there is a lot of take in, but I like it! It’s a long book, so I am going to have to keep a good pace to keep momentum.

I’ve also listened to a little bit more of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – when am I going to finish this audiobook? I’ve been listening to it in dribs and drabs, but lately I’ve not really trusted that I am awake enough in the morning to take in the story.

I have an hour left. That is all. I am going to make the promise here and now – I will finish it next week.

 

Books Discovered

Individutopia

I’ve only added one book to the list this week – and it is on my list of books to read this month! I was intrigued by the synopsis of Individutopia. I love dystopian novels, so this naturally caught my eye. As this is an ARC, I am going to be reading it really soon. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all.

 

Coming Up…

Children of Blood & BoneIf you were worried that you were going to have to wait weeks on end for a review of Children of Blood and Bone, let me assuage your fears. I am really up to date with my reviews at the moment, so it makes sense to pen my thoughts whilst the book is fresh in my mind.

 

 

 

 

down the tbr holeI am also going to be looking at my unruly TBR pile again, because I need to get that shit under control…

Haha… that’s never going to happen, but I can pretend, right?  

 

 

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #12

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

As I am now back from my trip with family I am publishing another Down the TBR Hole post! For anyone unfamiliar, here are the rules: –

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

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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

 

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

The Secret History

Goodreads – The Secret History

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Goodreads – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer

Letters to the Lost

Goodreads – Letters to the Lost

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Bin!

 

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Caraval

Goodreads – Caraval

Remember, it’s only a game…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

Liath Luachra: The Grey One – Brian O’Sullivan

Liath Luachra

Goodreads – Liath Luachra: The Grey One

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

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

Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

Goodreads – Lunatics, Imbeciles and Idiots

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

Infinite Sacrifice – L. E. Waters

Infinite Sacrifice

Goodreads – Infinite Sacrifice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

Children of the Revolution – Peter Robinson

Children of the Revolution

Goodreads – Children of the Revolution

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

The Killer on the Wall – Emma Kavanagh

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

Goodreads – The Killer on the Wall

The first body comes as a shock

The second brings horror

The third signals the beginning of a nightmare

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

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

Then another body appears against the Wall.

And another.

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

Who is the Killer on the Wall?

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

I’m going to say no to this one.

Verdict: Bin

 

Daughter of the Burning City – Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning City

Goodreads – Daughter of the Burning City

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

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

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

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

Verdict: Keep

 

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