Tag: epic fantasy

Top Ten Tuesday – Author’s I’d Love a New Book From

In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, we explore my Top Ten Author’s I’d Love a New Book From.

For some of the authors featured in this Top Ten Tuesday, I’ve read a lot of their books, if not all. For others, I’ve barely scratched the surface but love them so intently that I’ll always take more content from them.

Do you agree with any on this list? Let’s take a look and find out!


George R.R. Martin

There will never be enough George R.R. Martin books on this planet for me. However, at a minimum I’ll settle for the final books of his A Song of Ice and Fire series (A Game of Thrones).

I’d be gutted if these never made it out into the world!


Patrick Rothfuss

Amongst other readers, I’ve waited a long time for the conclusion to Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles. I understand that all great things take time, but we have waited over 13 years since the last full novel as of this Top Ten Tuesday post…


Brandon Sanderson

As one of my favourite authors, there isn’t necessarily anything specific I’m looking for here. Again, there will never be enough Sanderson books on the planet. I’ve rated every single book I’ve read 5 stars… the man can literally do no wrong at the moment.

I’ll always gratefully receive a guaranteed loved read!


Jay Kristoff

Jay Kristoff is a great writer of darker fantasy. From kick-ass assassin’s to vampire hunters and spunky teenage protagonists, he can do it all.

Jay Kristoff is also an author that I can go back to again and again with all comfort. I’m currently enjoying the sequel to Empire of the Vampire and having a great time. More of the same please Mr Kristoff, thanks in advance!


Terry Pratchett

Unfortunately there will never be any more works from the legend that is Terry Pratchett. The good news for me is that as of this post, I still have more than half his books to read!

So far I’m 20/41 into his Discworld series and I haven’t touched some of his other works at all yet. The Long Earth, which is also on May’s TBR is one such book. Hopefully not for long though!


J. R.R. Tolkien

I love The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’ve also read The Hobbit, and could read these on loop. The descriptions can be a bit long-winded, but there is little I can critique in these works.

I have no doubt that The Lord of the Rings is a series I’ll go back to. In fact, I bought a bind-up of all the books last year exactly for that purpose. I still haven’t read the Silmarillion, so that’s something fresh to look forward to!


Stephen King

I’m not much for horror in general, but Stephen King is an exception I will always make. I’ve enjoyed both his horrors and his fantasy cross-overs. His is a collection I’ll be reading over the course of my lifetime and the larger it gets, the better!

 

Susanne Collins

Three words. The. Hunger. Games.

I would love to read more about this world and explore more detail of the oppression and hope that drives the conflict in these books!


Laini Taylor

I haven’t read Laini Taylor for a long time. In truth her target audience is probably a little younger than me. However, I love her characters and conflicts in both Strange the Dreamer and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

I’d always read more in these universes, but I’d equally be willing to give others a try as well.


Scott Lynch

I just read that there is meant to be a sequel to Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards series. I adored these as a teenager!

When this gets published I’ll have to re-read the trilogy so far to refresh myself on events to date before picking up this sequel. I’m gutted obviously but I’ll struggle on 😅


So, here are my Top Ten Author’s I’d love to see more books from.

Do you agree with any of my choices in this Top Ten Tuesday? Which author would you like to see more books by?

 

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Book Review: Royal Assassin – Robin Hobb

I discovered Robin Hobb after numerous recommendations by my friend Rachael. I’d given Assassin’s Apprentice an informal try a couple of times on my phone but never started reading it seriously until June 2022. Then, I was hooked!

Since then I’ve read 6 of the 16 books that make up the wider Realm of the Elderlings series and I’ll soon pick up the 7th. I’m especially looking forward to that book as we revisit the characters from the first trilogy that I feature in this review.

In today’s book review, I’m going back to the second book of the series and to the trials and tribulations of FitzChivalry Farseer in his relatively new and turbulent place at the royal court.

Shall we get to it?

 

Royal Assassin – Robin Hobb

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 648

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 01 April 1996

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Royal Assassin

Fitz has survived his first hazardous mission as king’s assassin, but is left little more than a cripple. Battered and bitter, he vows to abandon his oath to King Shrewd, remaining in the distant mountains. But love and events of terrible urgency draw him back to the court at Buckkeep, and into the deadly intrigues of the royal family.

Renewing their vicious attacks on the coast, the Red-Ship Raiders leave burned-out villages and demented victims in their wake. The kingdom is also under assault from within, as treachery threatens the throne of the ailing king. In this time of great danger, the fate of the kingdom may rest in Fitz’s hands—and his role in its salvation may require the ultimate sacrifice.

 

My Thoughts

 

Plot

In Royal Assassin we are once again thrown into the political intrigues of the royal court. Whilst Verity is determined to do all he can to save those in the Duchy from raiders, Regal schemes to better his position and influence.

Fitz is wise to his scheming and the threat he poses but has little influence in protecting those Regal would gladly step on in his quest for power. That doesn’t necessarily stop him, however. With those he loves at court, Fitz will intervene to try and protect his newest and dearest. That’s his nature after all.

I loved the angle of the plot progression from book one. Already Assassin’s Apprentice set out a world from which a complex and well developed plot could emerge. In Royal Assassin, Robin Hobb builds on that exponentially.

 

Setting

I enjoyed returning to the familiar surrounds of Buck and Buckkeep. Whilst we do have the opportunity to roam a little further through Verity and the shared histories and geography interspersed in the narrative, we do so from this safe and well trodden ground.

For someone who has no interest in politics in real life, it is an aspect I really enjoy in novels. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. In this second instalment, we really get into familial dynamics and political relations. It’s a fun aspect of the narrative to explore in a world in which there is far more going on, yet still takes centre stage.

 

Characters

I love the characters in this first series, but particularly the main character. We find ourselves investing in Fitz having spent all the first book watching him grow from a boy to a young man in an environment where he isn’t exactly the safest. That doesn’t change in this book either…

One of my favourite things about Robin Hobb’s writing is that you are never quite sure what will happen to your favourite characters. She isn’t exactly known for being the kindest, and so we remain in constant tension as to where the story will progress and what will happen to those within.

Events in the second book of the series don’t exactly treat anyone kindly, but especially Fitz. That said, executed very well and I really enjoyed his story arc in this novel.

But of course, he is not the only character. We have already come to identify a lot of the other main players as a result of the first book in series, Assassin‘s Apprentice. This book really builds upon that first one, but at the same time we get to see different facets and more complex storylines allowing characters to develop and win a place in our hearts.

 

Narrative Style

I wouldn’t describe Robin Hobb books to you as fast reads. On the contrary, I find them very slow burn, but interesting and detailed.

Some books I can read quite quickly even when they have more complex storylines. That’s not the case with Robin, but I don’t take that as a detractor. On the contrary, they are books to take your time over and really think into the detail and characters with. Royal Assassin is much the same. There is a lot going on in this book and over the 600 odd pages of the narrative, we get to explore a lot of different relationships, events and set the scene for the wider world in general.

 

Summary

If you read Assassin’s Apprentice and are looking for an equally promising, detailed and fun political fantasy to sink your teeth into… you’ve got the right book! If you haven’t read Assassin’s Apprentice yet, well, what are you waiting for?

The Realm of the Elderlings is a fantastic world to dive into, so why wait?

 

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Monthly TBR – May 2024

Hello fellow readers and welcome to my Monthly TBR! In today’s post, I’ll be sharing the books I hope to pick up over the month of May. I’m looking forward to all these books too! Now that I don’t have any reading obligations ongoing, I have free rein on every single book I pick up this month, and in what order.

I have a newly released sequel, a last in series, a new fantasy series, a science-fiction collab and two non-fiction audiobooks to share with you.

Curious as to what I’m picking up this month? Let’s get into this monthly TBR so you can find out!

 

Mood Reads

 

Empire of the Damned

After some deliberation, I’ve decided to start immediately after finishing Empire of the Vampire by picking up the sequel.

I’ve been looking forward to this read for a long time. It is rare that I pre-order books ahead of publication. However, Empire of the Damned was an exception! Now I’m caught up and refreshed on events of the previous book, I’m going to dive straight into this sequel.

As of this post, I’m already 50 pages into the book and intrigued as to where events are going to take us. It’s not the kind of story I expected to play out based on biases of the characters established in book 1. However, there is promise for conflict and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in!

 

Master of Sorrows

I’ve been trying to get to Master of Sorrows for a few months now, and I’ve decided May is THE month. I have no other reading obligations, so it’s going to be the next book I pick up after Empire of the Damned. I’m perhaps a little ambitious picking up two longer physical reads this month, but I am nothing if not up for a challenge.

I originally drew this book out of my TBR Jar at the end of January, with the intention of picking up the book in February. Three months late is better than never, right?

 

The Long Earth

The Long Earth has been on my reading list since February 2018. It’s been on my radar to pick up anyway, but I just so happened to get a loan copy from our former CEO at work as he has just read the book himself. He’s also a fan of Terry Pratchett.

My experience so far of books co-authored by Terry Pratchett are not the best. However, that’s usually because of the other authors influence rather than Terry’s. I’m not going to let that put me off a new combination though. My dad is a fan of Stephen Baxter, so I want to try it from that perspective as well.

 

Obsidio

Although a slightly thicker book, my experience of the Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman so far is that they are very quick reads. Having read the first two books of the trilogy, I want to pick up Obsidio in May in order to mark the series as completed.

I also believe this book picks up both storylines from the earlier books and brings the characters from each storyline together. I have no idea how that’s going to work and whether there’s going to be any personality clashes, but I’m excited to see what happens!

 

Terry Pratchett: A Life with Footnotes

The first of my audiobook listens planned for this month is Terry Pratchett’s biography. If it wasn’t already clear I was a fan of his writing in picking up The Long Earth, the fact that I’ve read just under half of his 41 book Discworld series should leave no room for doubt.

I’ve watched a documentary about his life before and I’ve been fascinated by his life story. Now I want to hear that in his ‘own’ words as much as possible. This book isn’t an autobiography as Terry never got to complete it himself. Instead, his assistant Rob Wilkins picked up the mantle to finish it into the biography it is today.

 

F*ck No

The second and shorter audiobook I intend to pick up in May is called F*ck No by Sarah Knight. It’s a book that was recommended to me fairly recently and I’m interested in the content of the book. If I get on with it, then the author Sarah has an extensive collection of other self-help books that I would look to pick up as well.

I’ve already sampled and bought the audio as that’s a big make or break thing for me when picking up a book like that. If I can’t get on with the narrative style, then it’s a hard pass. However, I like what I’ve heard so far so I’m looking forward to listening to it in earnest!

 

Summary

As always, I don’t give myself much slack with my reading lists. However, I’m hopeful that I will get through the majority of this monthly TBR. Although some of the books are a little chunkier, some will be easier to read because of their format; mixed media and using audio when I can’t physically pick up a book are helpful to keep pace.

What are you planning to read?  Have you read any of the books on this monthly TBR? Do you have anything ongoing at the moment that you would recommend?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Unread Books on My Shelves I Want to Read Soon!

Just like every bookworm, I have a stack of books on my shelves waiting and begging to be read. In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I feature some of the unread books I will look to prioritise in the coming months.

Are you intrigued for today’s Top Ten Tuesday list? Let’s get stuck in!


The Ember Blade

The Ember Blade is my first feature in this Top Ten Tuesday and a fantasy by an author I haven’t tried before. I love the sound of the synopsis and I confess I was a little biased by how beautiful the cover is!

I’m excited to try a new author! Whilst I do love to return to firm favourites, I try to stretch myself now and then with something new. This is in the safety net of my favourite genre (fantasy) and does have some typical tropes of the genre. Still, I’m interested to see how the author takes these and plays events out.

The book has an average 4.2 star rating on Goodreads with over 5000 ratings. It sounds promising! The only factor I need to consider is that this book is over 800 pages long. I need to try and split out some of my larger reads so I’m not bombarding myself all at once.


Spare and Found Parts

In contrast, Spare and Found Parts is a relatively short read that will take me out of my comfort zone.

Combine science-fiction with a steampunk vibe, toss in some romance and an epidemic, and you have quite the setting! It’s unusual and not like anything I have ever seen before. I picked up a copy of the book precisely for this reason.

This book is also great in that it will make for a great read in between some of my larger ones – as both a shorter read and its unusual setting. It will be a complete change regardless of what I read around it!


Les Miserables

Les Mis is an epic classic that I’m looking forward to getting to! At the same time, it is going to be a mammoth read. I need to pick it up as and when I’m in the mood.

I’ve had a quick read of the first few pages and the overall impression was good. I was worried initially that the writing style might be a little bit tricky, but didn’t find this with the sample. I’ll have to try and spread this out from some of the other chunky reads on this list. I can’t read too many large books at once.


Wolves of the Calla

Speaking of chunky reads, Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King is another such book in this Top Ten Tuesday post. It’s also the fifth book in The Dark Tower series, which is an ongoing read.

As I’m trying to pick up and finish more series this year, Wolves of the Calla is a natural choice. It means then I will have just two books left afterwards to complete the series.

Not only that, but I have really enjoyed each book in The Dark Tower series to date. They are cleverly written and I enjoy the diversity of Mid-world versus Earth in various time periods of history. It’s an interesting contrast and I hope to see more of in future books. We’ll see!


The Devil and the Dark Water

After reading The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, I’m looking forward to picking up a second book by Stuart Turton.

I featured this book in a First Lines Friday post and I loved the introduction to this book. With this in mind, I hope to pick this up before long as a change of genre and to re-explore the writing of an author I hope to read more of in future.


The Bone Collector

I have been threatening to read The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver for the longest time! It’s been sat on my shelf for some time and it’s time to give it some love!

I recall we’ve owned a copy of the book this long because I distinctly remember my sister getting a copy of this whilst she was at university… about six and a half years ago!

Maybe time to pick it up, no?


Fool’s Errand

I’ve been trying to get to Fool’s Errand for a couple of months anyway. Robin Hobb is fast becoming one of my favourite authors of all time. I have loved and rated each book in the Realm of the Elderlings series 5 stars so far.

Fool’s Errand will be the seventh book of the series that I pick up. Will I keep up the streak of five star ratings? I sincerely hope so!

Obsidio

Obsidio is the last book I need to read in Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman‘s The Illuminae Files. Although the stories are angled towards a young adult audience, I have a really enjoyed the books and characters so far.

With this being the last in the series, it makes sense to pick up this final book. I want to see events I have read so far wrapped up, but also to mark the series as complete.

I love Top Ten Tuesday posts like these as they are often great reminders to get to these final books! 


Master of Sorrows

I’ve been trying to get to Master of Sorrows for a couple of months as well, but I’ve not managed it so far. It’s a book I pulled out of my TBR jar, so I do need to pick it up before long. At the same time, I’m not taking anything else out of that until this book is finished!

I’ve heard rave reviews about this book and series so far. Had I not pulled this out of the jar, I probably would have held off starting this series. However, the jar has spoken and so I will be picking up this book very soon.


Elektra

I have read another book by Jennifer Saint, Ariadne. I’ve also come to enjoy Greek mythology from other writers such as Pat Barker and even Stephen Fry.

Greek mythology is not my strong point, but that is precisely why I’m trying to pick up more books in the genre. It also makes an interesting change from my usual preferences. I’m always trying to read out of my comfort zone, but this is a comfortable step as I’ve already tried the author once before!

As books on this list compare, it’s one of the shortest ones I can pick up. In that sense, I have a lot of flexibility as to when I can read the book.


Have you read any of the books I feature in today’s Top Ten Tuesday? Do you have any books you would recommend I pick up first?

As always, I’m really excited to hear from you!

 

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Sunday Summary – 21st April 2024

I stepped back on the blog schedule this week to give myself some breathing space and get back to reading. In today’s Sunday Summary, you’ll see why that’s worked out for me compared to reading in previous weeks!

As a consequence of making that decision, I shared only one other post this week. That was a discussion post, in which I shared five reasons why we should re-read books. If you haven’t checked out that post already, or have your own ideas as to why re-reads are the best kind of reads, then I’d love you to hop over there and have a chat with me about it!

 

Books Read

 

Empire of the Vampire

Having only read 100 pages of Empire of the Vampire in the last two weeks, I wanted to step up my reading game and make more progress in this book over the course of this week. I have read more this week than I’ve managed in the last fortnight; as of this Sunday Summary, I’m now on page 384.

I am slower with re-reads anyway, but changes in my lifestyle mean I don’t have as much time to read. When I’m picking up a chunky book such as this, it’s naturally going to take a while!

I was hoping to have this read by now and not to have to set it aside for another reading obligation, but such is life. I have one last commitment coming up in a week’s time that I need to prioritise. So, I will have to put this book down for a bit. Maybe the break will do me good so that when I come back to it refreshed I can dive back in.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

It’s wild how much progress I’ve made on audiobooks in the last week! For my least favourite form of reading, it’s currently working out really well for me.

In last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was 25% into the audiobook Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Julie Smith. I had approximately 6 hours of audio to listen to in order to finish the book. I listened to the first couple of those when doing gardening and pottering around the house on Tuesday. The remainder of the book was devoured in one sitting yesterday, whilst doing housework and a craft project!

Needless to say, the speed of how quickly I listened to this audio tells you how engaged I was with it. I love this subject matter and I found it both easy and interesting to listen to. I can also see it as a book that I will revisit again in future. It is the kind that can be used as a reference again and again.

 

The Icepick Surgeon

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also started a second audiobook this week. The Icepick Surgeon is an interesting read about how those in the scientific field have blurred the lines of morality in the name of science and ‘doing good’.

So far I have only listened to the first couple of chapters in full and 75% of the third, but I’m already interested in the subject. I can already tell that this is going to be another easy and engaging listen. So, hopefully I’ll have as good an update for you next week as I did with Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

 

Books Discovered

Non-fiction reads are working really well for me right now. That’s partly the reason why I have added another to my reading list this week.

I was introduced to an article and individuals by a colleague at work around a condition she suffers from. It is one that is often swept under the carpet and little known about. Even to date, there are people who are bed-bound, unable to feed themselves or even tolerate any form of contact as a result of the condition.

That condition is myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) for short, or also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. The condition is being talked about a little more now as a consequence of the pandemic and a result of a long-Covid sufferers experiencing similar symptoms. It’s hoped that research into this will ultimately help ME suffers, but they have waited far too long.

The Puzzle Solver is a biography of one family’s experience of the condition, and it is awful to realise many exist this way. I don’t say live for a reason, because many don’t have a proper life at all.

 

Coming Up…

I’m going to share a Top Ten Tuesday post for the first time in a few weeks. This week’s topic is ‘unread books on my shelves that I hope to pick up soon’. God knows I have a lot (and less time to read these days), but I still want to try!

Next Saturday, I will be reviewing The Maiden of Florence as part of the blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. This is the obligation for which I need to put down Empire of the Vampire temporarily! This is a historical fiction novel based on a true story. I love the sound of the setting and I think female characters and rights are going to be very prominent in this narrative; I’m looking forward to picking it up!

As always, I’ll be back this time next week with my Sunday Summary wrap-up update. I hope you can stay tuned for that!

Until then, see you around!

 

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Sunday Summary – 14th April 2024

Welcome to another Sunday Summary update. Admittedly I suspect this post is going to be on the light side, as will become apparent. I have made some reading progress, but not very much due to events out of my control.

First, let’s take a look at the blog posts I shared throughout the week. Later than usual, I shared my Monthly TBR for April. It was always going to be late anyway, but it ended up being even later still as a result of the events I mentioned above.

On Friday I shared my latest feature in my First Lines Friday series. In that post, I feature a non-fiction book I added to my reading list recently after watching a TV series based on it. I hope you can take a moment to check both of those posts out!

 

Books Read

 

Empire of the Vampire

In my last Sunday Summary post I shared that I’d only read 25 pages of Empire of the Vampire. Progress is better than that this week, but I am still reading this book as of this post.

It’s awkward to explain without going back for a minute because I’ve not really shared that I started seeing someone yet. But, a couple of months ago I started seeing my boyfriend Shane. Well, somebody close to him passed away on Monday. We ended up taking temporary custody of their dog and making arrangements for her return to family on Tuesday.

From there on all my plans for the week went awry. The charity cake sale I was supposed to bake for this week ended up with donations of the shop-bought variety. But, life happens.

In between everything, I did read about 80 pages of Empire of the Vampire. It’s not much to write about, but it’s something.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

Audiobook progress has been better this week thankfully!

I’ve not had as much time as I would usually to sit down and read in the usual way. However, audio has stepped into this gap a little as I’ve been able to listen to it in and around commuting, lunch hours etc.

As of this Sunday Summary post I have listened to a further six chapters, bringing me to a total 25% progress.

 

Books Discovered

With everything that has gone on this week, I haven’t really had the chance to discover any new reads this week. Given I’ve not done much in the way of reading progress either, this is not a bad thing!

 

Coming Up…

I want to try and catch up on some reading this week. So, I’m taking the blog schedule down to just one post mid-week and my Sunday Summary at the end of the week.

The plan is to share a discussion post about re-reading books, and why we can get so much more out of our favourite books by doing so! That’s obviously not at all inspired by my current re-read of Empire of the Vampire… obviously 😉

Today’s Sunday Summary is a relatively quick one, but I hope you enjoyed reading nonetheless. Until my next post, have a great week and me, your bookshelves ever be overflowing!

 

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Monthly TBR – April 2024

Hi readers and welcome to a slightly later than planned Monthly TBR post!

To get through a slightly longer reading list in April, I’m making an effort to listen to more audio than usual. I’ve found in the past that non-fiction works best in this format, so that’s what I’ll be listening to. This also works great for my goal of reading more than 15 nonfiction books by the end of the year.

In addition to this, I’m picking up two fantasy reads and a sci-fi physically, and lastly, one e-ARC that I need to review by the 27th April. It’s a full list, so let’s get stuck in!

 

Monthly TBR


Empire of the Vampire

My first read of the month is my re-read of Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff. I’m looking forward to picking up the relatively new release of the sequel. However, before I dive into that I wanted a refresher of events so far.

As you’ll see from my last Sunday Summary post, I’m enjoying this read so far! I started reading it last month but had to put it aside for blog tour obligations. However, I’m back into it in full swing and loving the story as much as I did the first time.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

My first listen of the month is Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? Admittedly I started this audio on a whim after finishing The Atlas Six, but I have no regrets!

It’s just the kind of non-fiction that I can consume easily. I’m already 10 chapters or 2 hours 20mins in, and that’s been pretty easy to work through.

I’m looking forward to listening to more of this audio in the comings days, as well as looking at the exercises that come with it.

 

The Maiden of Florence

Next to feature on this monthly TBR is my one reading obligation this month, The Maiden of Florence. As I’ve already shared, I am reviewing this book on the 27th of the month.

I signed up for the blog tour as I was interested in the story’s ties to the Medici family. I love historical fiction anyway, but it reminds me of my favourite series in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I could play the Ezio storylines over and over and not get bored!

It’s a period of history I haven’t read in a while, and all about casting light on a female character cast aside by history… which has me intrigued!

 

The Icepick Surgeon

The second non-fiction audio I hope to listen to this month is The Icepick Surgeon. I discovered this book when an Instagrammer I follow shared she was reading it in March. Initially I’d hoped to read it then as well. However, time as always runs away and I didn’t get to it at the same time.

But, a month late is better than never! As someone who enjoyed exploring this side of science in psychology, I’m looking forward to reading further around the subject!

 

Master of Sorrows

Master of Sorrows… how many monthly TBR’s has this been on now? Three perhaps? I’ve just not gotten to it so far, but I’m determined to at the very least start it in April.

Last month I deliberately didn’t draw another book out my TBR jar give myself chance to read this one. Given I’ve ended up carrying it over again, the same applies this month.

 

Stretch Goal

The Long Earth

On the off-chance I manage to read all the books above, I’m going to pick up The Long Earth next.

It has been on my TBR since February 2018, but I’ve managed to borrow a copy from someone at work who was discussing it with me recently. He has not long finished it, so I want to state my intentions to pick it up as soon as I can so we can compare notes!


Summary

I’ve plenty of reading to do and as of this post, I have two at currently reading status and no completions! Best get a wriggle on!

Have you read any of the books I feature in this post?

Until next time, happy reading!

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Sunday Summary – 7th April 2024

Good evening readers and welcome to another Sunday Summary update full of bookish news and going on from here! Make yourselves comfortable so we can dive in to this week’s update post.

As always, let’s recap the blog posts I have shared in the last week. My first post of the week was a blog tour post featuring Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater. I originally published my review of this book back in February. But when I saw the tour invite, I promised to revamp it and share it as part of the tour. It worked out nicely as the author gets more publicity, and I already had a good deal of content prepared to share.

I shared a second blog to post just a couple of days later – this one for Enemies of Mercia by M.J. Porter. This was a brand-new read and review obligation, so that was my priority for this week. I really enjoyed this sixth instalment to the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles. If you have been following my reviews of the series on my blog, you’ll be especially interested to check out this latest review!

I shared a further post on Saturday given that those tour obligations meant I couldn’t feature my regular monthly wrap-up at the beginning of this month. Instead, that went live on Saturday, and I had plenty to recap in terms of reading throughout March. If you want a summary of the books I picked up, that is the post to take a look at!

 

Books Read

 

Enemies of Mercia

The first priority I had this week was to finish my read of Enemies of Mercia by M.J. Porter. As you will see above, I had a spot on the blog tour organised for its publication, and I had the pleasure of kicking the tour off. Needless to say, it was important that I finish this read in time to share my full thoughts on the whole book.

I enjoyed Enemies of Mercia every bit as much as I expected I would. Having read five books in the series to date, I had high expectations for the characters and storyline. I wasn’t disappointed!

If you love historical fiction set during the time Vikings came to Britain, then check out this book. Whilst the main events of this storyline don’t feature Vikings too heavily, they have already had their influence on the setting and characters so far. They are more prevalent in earlier books of the series, so I recommend checking them out.

Naturally, if you want to find out more about this book, or get access to links to reviews of the early book in the series, check out that review post I shared on Thursday.

 

Empire of the Vampire

As a result of prioritising Enemies of Mercia, Empire of the Vampire took a backseat this week. I did pick the book up one evening before bed, but admittedly only read 25 pages!

So, as of this Sunday Summary post, that puts me at page 196. Now that all my immediate obligations are out of the way, Empire of the Vampire will be my main reading focus once again.

 

The Atlas Six

After sharing in last week’s Sunday Summary post that I was so close to the conclusion of this book, I made it my priority to finish this audio this week.

In fact, I finished this audiobook on Monday. As it happens, the audiobook version I was listening to has quite a bit of bonus content at the end, so I was even closer to the finish line than I thought in that post!

I really enjoyed the story overall, although I wouldn’t say it lives up to the hype it’s gotten in my opinion. I enjoyed it, but I’m not sure I will continue to read the rest of the series. I’ve enjoyed it as a standalone and I think it has some interesting ideas.

 

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before

After finishing The Atlas Six, I looked for my next audiobook to pick up. On a whim, I chose to listen to Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before.

Of late, I find non-fiction a lot easier to listen to than fiction. I find it easier to follow, and it has become my preferred method of reading this type of book. To try and pick up the pace with audiobooks a bit more, and to listen to something different, I deliberately chose a non-fiction this time.

As of this Sunday Summary post, I have listened to the first four chapters of the book, which is about an hour and 20 minutes of the audio. If you’re interested, that works out at about 15% progress.

Next week I’ll be spending several hours on Monday and Tuesday evening baking for a charity cake sale at work. That would be the perfect opportunity to make further progress as I won’t be able to conventionally sit down and read during that time.

 

Books Discovered

I picked up some book recommendations around the topic of Neurodiversity this week. It’s a topic that’s been discussed at work, and several staff (including myself) put forward recommendations of content on the subject.

Someone seconded my recommendation of Unmasked by Ellie Middleton, which was great! They also shared a couple of other books which I added to my reading list – Untypical and Dirty Laundry.

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post of next week will be my reading list for April. As I am sharing this list quite late, you’re already seeing some of the books I’ll feature show up in my reading. However, circumstantially I had blog tours come up at the beginning of the month which inevitably delayed my regular monthly posts. I am looking forward to sharing that list though and giving you some more detail on what books I plan to pick up shortly!

Later in the week I bring back my First Lines Friday regular feature post. It’s been a few weeks since I shared one of these, and I’m looking forward to bringing it back. They are a fun type of post to share. Depending on my choice of book, I get to feature a great book I love, or get excited for one coming up on my reading list! Stick around to find out which I share in Friday’s post.

I’ll wrap up next week with another Sunday Summary post just like this one. If I have as much reading progress to share with you, then I’ll be on the right track!

Until then, have a great week and happy reading!

 

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Sunday Summary – 31st March 2024

Good evening all and welcome to this week’s Sunday Summary update post! It’s been a mad busy week with work, so there’s been a lot to juggle.

Nevertheless, I’ve kept the blog ticking over! My first post of the week was a review of one of my favourite reads of 2022 – Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I’m not sure if I’ve done the book justice, but I’ve for sure done my best to sell it to you. If you haven’t checked out that post and you want to check out the first book of an epic series, please do!

On Friday I shared the next instalment of Shelf Control, and I finally moved away from my deluge of non-fiction. This week, I featured a historical fiction novel that I’m looking forward to. It’s set from the perspective of German youths in WW2. Having read books in a similar setting before, I’m keen to see how unique the take is on the subject. If you want to know more, here’s a link to that post so you can check it out!

 

Books Read

 

Empire of the Vampire

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was 12%, or about 86 pages, into Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff.

I haven’t made lot of progress in this book this week due to work, plans and other commitments. I have read about another 90 pages though, which I’m not going to turn my nose up at. What I have read I have really enjoyed. Although I’ve read the book before, that’s not hampering my enjoyment second time around at all!

I have also had to set this aside temporarily in order to read another book for a blog tour coming up soon. More on that below.

So, as of this post, I will be picking up from page 171, after I finish reading Enemies of Mercia.

 

Enemies of Mercia

Speaking of which, Enemies of Mercia is a book I’m reviewing for blog tour next week. With that in mind, I picked up this book for the first time yesterday so that I have time to read it ahead of my review date.

Enemies of Mercia is the fifth instalment in M.J. Porter’s Eagle of Mercia Chronicles. I’ve read and enjoyed the earlier books in the series and featured them for blog tours. When I saw Enemies of Mercia on tour, I signed up straight away! I love the protagonist in this series as he is quite unique. As a young boy, he saw his place in the world as healing as opposed to becoming a warrior. However, circumstance dictated that he did indeed learn to become an accomplished warrior, though he doesn’t relish the role.

I’m not too far into Enemies of Mercia, but if it’s already clear that Icel is suffering from events that have taken place in the previous book. He is not the strong warrior he was then, and I’m keen to see if this ends up being a developmental opportunity for his character.

As of this Sunday Summary post, I am 14% into the book and will be making an effort to prioritise this in the next couple of days!

 

The Atlas Six

Around this week’s busy schedule, I have taken some time away from screens and enjoyed two hobbies in tandem – cross stitch and listening to audiobooks.

Listening to The Atlas Six is a slow burn at this point just because I don’t pick up audiobooks very much. That said, I am really enjoying this audio and I feel like events are really starting to pick up. I’m now 81% into this audiobook, and I’m really looking forward to finishing it! Admittedly, I wanted to listen to more of this audio this morning, but I had other things to do and so I’ve had to wait. It’s not very often I have to make that call, but clearly the drive to listen is there.

I listen to audiobooks on x1.2 speed, so I have 2 hours and 43 minutes listening time left of this audio. That’s not long, and given I’ve already listened to more than that this week alone, I should be able to tell you this time next week that I am done with this book! Finally…

 

Books Discovered

Since adding Breathtaking to the TBR last week, there’s been no activity or further additions to my reading list.

It’s long enough as it is, so I’m not complaining!

 

Coming Up…

I have two blog tour obligations this week, although thankfully I already have content pretty much sorted for one.

You may recall that I reviewed Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater a little while ago after reading the book last year. That book is now on tour, and I have agreed to spruce up and re-publish my review as part of the tour. Fans of science-fiction should definitely take a moment of their day to check out that post on Tuesday.

On Thursday, I am touring with Boldwood Books by sharing my review of Enemies of Mercia. If you have enjoyed any of my reviews for the prior books in the series, or enjoy historical fiction set in the Viking era, I hope you can take a look at my review.

Although it’ll be a little late compared to my usual scheduling, I plan to share my monthly wrap-up for March on Saturday next week. I need to prioritise my blog tours first. I’m also reluctant to commit to any more tight blogging deadlines next week as it’s one of my busiest weeks at work too. So, the wrap-up will be a little later than usual, as will April’s reading list.

That won’t be my final post of the week though. I’ll be back this time next week with another Sunday Summary post as usual. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to mark at least two of my current reads as complete in that update!

Until then, happy reading and I’ll see you in the next post!

 

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Book Review: Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Today, I review a book on my review backlist – Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb! I’ve published a few review for blog tours of late. It’s been fun, and I want to keep up momentum of reviews and recommendations. 

I first picked up the book on the recommendation of my friend Rachael. She loves Robin Hobb and I gave her a go based on that recommendation. I haven’t looked back since! Since reading Assassin’s Apprentice in 2022 I’ve gone on to read 5 further books in the Realm of the Elderlings series and loved every one. I’m also hoping to read Fool’s Errand soon and return to Fitz and his adventures.

But, I guess I need to introduce you to him first! So, let’s crack on!

 

Assassin’s Apprentice – Robin Hobb

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 392

Audience: Adult

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: 01 April 1995

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads –  Assassin’s Apprentice

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

 

My Thoughts

Plot

In Assassin‘s Apprentice, we follow a young boy who is known to us as Fitz. In the opening of the narrative, he is just a small child, dropped off at the home of his father who is absent. Instead, he is cared for by his loyal man and stable master Burrich.

Fitz is eventually brought into the royal household, but his duties are far from regular. He serves the crown by training and executing his duty as the royal assassin. Not only that, but he is an irregular boy. Fitz shows signs of a form of magic frowned upon. Having been a part of his identity all his life, he fails to see why the superstition of others should prevent him from bonding with animals. It’s a point of conflict throughout an I expect this to become even more prominent in the later series. 

If you enjoy fantasy with plenty of political intrigue, then this book is a great foundation for a series rife with it! I really enjoyed the depth and attention to detail even in this opening book. It is shorter than the sequels to this mini series within the Realm of the Elderlings universe. Even so, it really paves the way and draws the reader in. Honestly, this description of the book really doesn’t do it justice, but I doubt I ever could!

 

Setting

Western medieval fantasy fans will be in their element. The vast majority of this first book is set in the location of Buckkeep. Home to the Royal family, it is where Fitz is brought as a young boy and we watch him progress into adolescence and role in court.

It is a very typical setting on its own, but it is vastly complimented by the introduction to the wider landscape and universe that Robin Hobb writes so well. We start to see some of this landscape explored in this first book and it adds a great deal of contrast to the political landscape we otherwise spend our time exploring.

 

Characters

Fitz is a wonderful and complex protagonist, and his perspective is one that I have enjoyed the most out of the series so far. At first I was a little bit disappointed when the second mini series deviated from his character arc. However, I quickly got over that because that set of books follow a completely different (but equally impressive) character set. I am excited to be going back to his storyline in the next mini series though, I can’t lie.

Fitz it’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster in that his relationships with the people around him are constantly changing. Dynamics constantly ebb and flow, and it makes the events taking place in the book feel even more tangible and like real life.

In reality, Fitz is one of many in-depth characters in the series. There are many prominent characters in their own right, such as Verity, the Fool, Chade and Burrich. They all ultimately help shape and support the man Fitz becomes. Even beyond that, every character introduced has their part to play, however major or minor.

 

Narrative Style

Personally, I find Robin Hobb to be an author to take on the slower side. These books aren’t the quickest in terms of pace or readability. But, with the amount going on at any one time, that’s not a bad thing. There is a lot of depth and detail to take in and turn over.

Assassin’s Apprentice itself isn’t so bad, but this comes into play more as you get further into the series. I love these books, but I feel it’s only fair to advise this to potential future readers to manage expectations. There have been times I have wanted to read her books more quickly, but I’m not able to. You may have a completely different experience and find it easy to rattle through her narrative. If you do, that’s great! When it comes to Robin Hobb, I’m a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of girl.

In terms of the written style itself, I find there is a good balance of action, as well as world-building and general description. There is no lack of detail in these books, and especially so in this introduction. It’s the shortest of the series I’ve read so far, with the longest being near 900 pages. Even across these vastly different page ranges, the writing style is consistent throughout. Robin Hobb has a knack of lifting events off the page and portraying it vividly in the readers mind.

 

Summary

If you are looking for a new epic fantasy series to start, and aren’t intimidated by a large number of books (or page count), I strongly recommend Realm of the ElderIings. I only discovered Robin Hobb for the first time in 2022 and already she is one of my favourite authors!

I love this series and I am always looking forward to picking up the next book. I wanted to feature Assassin’s Apprentice in today’s review because I cannot scream loud enough from the rooftop that Robin Hobb is an author you need to try. Have I done her justice in the review? Who can say?

If you have read Assassin’s Apprentice or any other books by Robin Hobb and want to add to this sentiment, please let everyone know in the comments what you think! I’d love to persuade more people to start this series 😊

 

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