Tag: fantasy

Sunday Summary – 2nd May 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s weekly Sunday Summary update post. I hope you’re enjoying the lovely long weekend? I certainly am! It’s just a shame about the weather tomorrow really…

So, what have I been up to this week? At the beginning of the week I shared a post in celebration of four years of blogging. It’s weird to think that I started so long ago because it feels like it was only a few minutes ago at times. I’ve certainly learned a lot along the way and my Four Year Blogiversary post was really drafted to commemorate how far I’ve come since I started.

On Friday I shared a slightly hastily written Shelf Control post. With upcoming uncertainty over the weather and the need to get a few jobs done, I ended up drafting this about 9pm on Friday. I hope that hasn’t compromised the quality but this week’s featured book is a good one and I’d still like you to go over and read it if you haven’t already!

 

Books Read

I didn’t quite get Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin finished this week, however I have made good progress towards that aim (set in last week’s Sunday Summary post)! I’m going to be taking it to bed again tonight and with another day left of the weekend, I have plenty more time to chip into this and hopefully finish the book!

I ended up reading a couple of chapters of this yesterday morning in a slightly different setting. I had taken my car to the garage for a couple of new tires. Whilst waiting for that to be done, I went down to the promenade to sit and have a read with a cup of coffee. It’s not very often I take the time to sit and enjoy such views. Those particular ones aren’t on my doorstep anymore and that made me appreciate going all the more. The one thing I will say is that it was bloody cold though!

The main reason I didn’t get finished with this book though is because I had another project so close to completion but I just couldn’t leave it. You may be aware that I’ve become a bit of a knitter over the last year and I recently completed a couple of scarf projects. In order to complete those I actually put on hold a personal project (a jumper). Well, I was so close to finishing it this week that I just couldn’t leave it unfinished! It’s blocking at the moment so a picture will follow later; I just hope it looks good on!

 

Books Discovered

It’s been another good week here and I have no new additions to my TBR. Since I’m getting through mine at a snail‘s pace here at the moment that is definitely a good thing! (I’m hoping to pick up the pace shortly)

 

Coming Up…

My blog schedule is going to be a little bit different over the next week as I have signed up for some blog tours. As is the story this year, I haven’t signed up to review these books because I’m focusing on the ones on my TBR already. However, I am sharing an extract of The Glasshouse by Morwenna Blackwood on Tuesday and a guest post from the author of The Legacy, Alison Knight, on Wednesday. I hope you enjoy these posts; it will certainly be a pleasure for me to be able to feature new books and authors and have a little bit of variety in bookish content!

Before I even get to those, however, I will be sharing my monthly wrap up for April. Given the progress I’ve made I think it’s only going to be a quick one but still, I’ll be publishing that tomorrow evening sometime.

So, with three posts already going live by the end of Wednesday I’ve decided to skip my Friday feature for this week. I will be back with a First Lines Friday very shortly so don’t think these are going anywhere – it’s just a temporary break so I can manage my schedule!

 

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post. What are you reading?

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Sunday Summary – 25th April 2021

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. As always, I hope you’ve had a really good week whatever you have been up to!

I have been back to work this week for the first time in nearly two months and I’ve enjoyed it more than I expected. Don’t get me wrong, I love being at home but I like the separation of work and home life. Going back into the office this week has given me the opportunity to catch up with all my colleagues and of course, get on with my work in a better environment.

On the blog, I have shared a couple of posts with you already this week. On Thursday I shared my Audiobook Review of Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch; on Friday I shared another First Lines Friday post. If you haven’t checked out either of those posts already, I have provided a handy link for each so you can go and have a skeet!

 

Books Read

It feels like it’s taking a long time, but I have made more progress with Fire and Blood this week. It is a very long book and I’m not reading anywhere near as much as I have previously. I’ve been taking the time to enjoy other hobbies, such as knitting but also just to sit and watch TV of an evening. It’s not something I do a lot of, but it’s nice to give myself the choice… which before I didn’t. Still, I am well on the way to finishing this shortly. The book has a total of 706 pages, so that means I only have about 150 left. Depending on how I feel I might make a bit more of a push with this this week. It’ll be nice to see the end of it (as much as I am enjoying it, I do want to finish it soon and move onto something else)!

 

Books Discovered

 

In last week’s Sunday Summary update post I told you that I was planning on having a skeet in my local branch of a certain book retailer now that the store was open. I did indeed go and have a look and to my amazement, and I’m sure yours, I walked out empty-handed. I had a good look around but nothing really caught my eye and I didn’t want to spend frivolously for the sake of it. It’s better to save my money for something I really want. 

However, I have received a couple of recommendations this week and so added two books to my TBR. My sister’s boyfriend has recently read Barack Obama‘s autobiography and he said it is really good. I couldn’t tell you the last time I read an autobiography, but if it’s about someone I am interested in then it’s definitely something I want to pick up. A Promised Land will be a good read and the variety of picking up my first autobiography in years appeals to me. 

I also received a second recommendation/suggestion this week. As I mentioned in my First Lines Friday post, I quite often have a chat with my boss about books. We will quite often chat about a wide variety of books and genres too. Whilst the post featured in my First Lines Friday post (inspired by this conversation) is a fantasy book, we also discuss classics or non-fiction for example. He recommended that I pick up The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. I’d mentioned that I hadn’t read any of his books and my boss said he would be really interested in my thoughts on it. He is right in that it is a short book, that could be read in an afternoon and so I might pick this up shortly!

 

Coming Up…

I had my four year ‘blogiversary’ notification this week and to celebrate I would like to share a post about my experience of blogging, the things I’ve learned and some advice I would give to new or would-be bloggers out there.

Next Friday I will be back with my regular shelf control post. This week’s featured book is one that I have on my shelves upstairs and I have contemplated picking up a couple of times before already. I really like the sound of the premise and although it has loose links to Shakespeare (which I don’t really get on with – frankly I just can’t understand it) I don’t think this will impact my enjoyment of the book at all!

 

That’s all I have for you in today’s Sunday Summary post. What are you reading?

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First Lines Friday – 23/04/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s first First Lines Friday post!

I’m back to posting my First Lines Friday feature on a regular basis and I am thrilled to be sharing today’s featured book with you. Today’s feature was actually inspired by the conversation I had at work today. We have just come out of lockdown this week and I’ve enjoyed being back in the office and able to have a chat with my colleagues. I quite often end up having bookish chats with my boss. It’s quite a small company and we all know each other really well. He knows about my blog and how much I read and we often talk about our current reads or compare notes on books we have both read.

Today we ended up talking about a book series we are both part way through. It’s written by a very well-known author. The conversation reminded me of how much I am enjoying the particular miniseries of which today’s featured book is a part of. We both enjoy the series as a whole for it’s lightheartedness and satirical nature. I love the silliness and laugh out loud humour, particularly from the characters introduced in the below quote.

Here is today’s First Lines Friday feature: –

 

The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the Earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin. Thunder rolled back and forth across the dark, rain-lashed hills.

The night was as black as the inside of a cat. It was the kind of night, you could believe, on which gods move men as though they were pawns on the chessboard of fate. In the middle of this elemental storm a fire gleamed among the dripping furze bushes like the madness in a weasel’s eye. It illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: “When shall we three meet again?”

There was a pause.

Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: “Well, I can do next Tuesday.”

Through the fathomless deeps of space swims the star turtle Great A’Tuin, bearing on its back the four giant elephants who carry on their shoulders the mass of the Discworld. A tiny sun and moon spin around them, on a complicated orbit to induce seasons, so probably nowhere else in the multiverse is it sometimes necessary for an elephant to cock a leg and allow the sun to go past.

Exactly why this should be may never be known. Possibly the Creator of the universe got bored with all the usual business of axial inclination, albedos and rotational velocities, and decided to have a bit of fun for once.

Wyrd Sisters – Terry Pratchett

Wyrd Sisters – Goodreads

Kingdoms wobble, crowns topple and knives flash on the magical Discworld as the statutory three witches meddle in royal politics. The wyrd sisters battle against frightful odds to put the rightful king on the throne. At least, that’s what they think…

 

My Thoughts…

I love Terry Pratchett. And it was actually his Discworld novels that got me into reading regularly and ultimately into blogging as well. His satirical writing style was something that I came to depend on at that time.

The witches series is my favourite, with the death series not far behind. Truth be told, there aren’t many that I haven’t enjoyed. They all have their good elements, although some shine brighter than others and this can definitely be said of the witches series in my opinion.

The antics they get up to are hilarious, but probably the thing that draws me to the stories the most is Granny Weatherwax herself. I absolutely love her character! She is hilarious, sarcastic and truth be told a bit of a bossy boots, but she is a real driving force to be reckoned with. I wouldn’t like to cross her, put it that way!

I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Wyrd Sisters, or any of the other Discworld novels? If not, does this intro entice you to give it a go? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Audiobook Review: Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s audiobook review of Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I started listening to this series last year and to date I have listened to over half of it. As you can tell, I’ve really gotten into it! If you would like to find out my thoughts on the first instalment of the series, you can find my audiobook review of Rivers of London here.

 

Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Moon Over Soho

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

 

My Thoughts…

Rivers of London felt like it could’ve been a good standalone novel. However, Moon over Soho in my opinion, has more of a series vibe and does a good job of setting the scene for the series as a whole. In this particular book we start to see some longer plot elements coming into play and I really enjoyed how it picked up on the events from the first book.

The series is told from the perspective of rookie Detective Peter Grant. He operates in the only division of the police force that deals with the supernatural. His days on the beat are far from ordinary. Peter is a very typical young man raised in Britain and he is no stranger to English charm. He is very much in tune with the darker side of people, especially in a large city such as London. Growing up in such a setting it can only be expected that he has a typical British sense of humour and I really love that! The dry humour adds a lot to the narrative and keeps the reader engaged.

Moon over Soho has a quirky plot line and I enjoyed how Peter’s family are introduced in further detail. It adds a lot of depth to Peter’s character and I feel like we get to learn a lot more of his family dynamic than the first book. By including them, more we get to explore a brand-new set of characters as well as firm favourites from Rivers of London.

I have one pet hate about the female characters in these novels so far, as it is very clear that a lot of them are sexualised – especially young ones. Take Simone for example. Like Simone, I am a larger lady. As a larger lady, I can promise you that we would never, ever deliberately wear underwear too small for sex appeal. This book portrays it as sexy, with lumps and bumps exploding curvaceously in all the right places. You can tell she has been written by someone who has never had to wear an ill-fitting bra for a single day in his life. Women know the truth of how bras fit… or more importantly, how they don’t! Wearing bras that are too small emphasises back fat, underwires dig into your armpits and small straps can rub the skin off your shoulders, to name but a few issues they cause. That kind of pain is not something that women would deliberately choose to inflict upon themselves!

Still think this is sexy, Mr Aaronovitch? My point is it isn’t a realistic expectation of what women should look like or how they do look. In a world full of body dysmorphia I think it’s important to emphasise this. Women should absolutely not do it and frankly it’s not attractive!

Okay, rant over.

Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t impacted how much I’ve enjoyed the book but it is becoming apparent that the author does have a penchant for sexualising female characters. I’ve gone on to listen to more of the audiobooks so clearly it isn’t a huge issue for me, but I wish that he didn’t. It hardly encourages anyone to see anything in women beyond the physical appearance, which at least is shallow and at most, well, insulting.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to mention the format itself and how much I enjoyed this second audiobook being narrated by the same person. I’ve already raved about how good he is at bringing life to an already interesting character and to have the consistency in this book as well (and the rest of the series I’ve listen to to date) is very satisfying.

As with Rivers of London, the author’s love of the city shines through the narrative. I’m not one with much experience of London but I didn’t find the descriptions and geography of the city confusing. Honestly, I didn’t let myself get bogged down into it because I knew I wouldn’t have a hope of understanding it anyway! It has no impact on the enjoyment of the book and honestly, I think anyone can pick this up. You don’t have to be familiar with London in any way to be able to read and enjoy the series.

 

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Sunday Summary – 18th April 2021

Good evening everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post! As always, I hope you’ve had a brilliant week whatever you have been up to?

I’ve enjoyed a week off work this week, which has been nice. I can’t say I’ve spent it all relaxing though – on Tuesday I re-painted my bathroom and on Wednesday and Thursday I was building flatpack furniture for my spare room. That said, both Monday and Friday were nice and chill.

On Monday I shared a post over on my Instagram and Facebook feeds that explains a little bit about why I have been absent from reading this year. You may recall that I have taken up knitting and I’ve been referencing a project I’ve been doing, but elusively. That’s because I’ve been working on a project for my dad as a gift and so I didn’t want him to find out about it before he was gifted the finished item. So, having given him his present on Monday I shared the below photos of the project I’ve been making him (and incidentally someone else too, so I had to keep both a secret!) 

Thankfully now the time pressure is off but I will be continuing to knit in future. This week I have been able to revisit a project I started in November last year – a jumper for me! Whilst knitting may sound boring to some, there is still a lot for me to learn. I am going to be picking up different projects that will enable me to learn all these new techniques (and hopefully improve on my knitting overall!)

On the blog I have shared a couple of posts with you this week. My first post of the week was a fun Spring Cleaning Book Tag. It actually proved a little bit more difficult to write than I thought – it has some really good questions on it that I had to mull over for a few days. If you haven’t checked out that post already please use the link above to have a look and let me know what you think!

Later in the week, I shared last week’s intended Shelf Control post. I hadn’t published that last week as I was late finishing work in preparation for my week off. Not a big deal though as I have had plenty of time to think about the book featured in that post and on Friday I told you why I’m really excited to pick this up!

 

Books Read

With doing a lot of manual jobs around the house this week I’ve mainly excelled in listening to more of A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. I can’t lie, the pronunciation of the name Brienne is still annoying me and makes me cringe everytime I hear it, but I’ve kind of come to accept that it’s going to happen whether I like it or not. It hasn’t stopped me in my reading progress though and as of today’s Sunday Summary update post I am now over halfway through the audiobook. I have around 16 and 3/4 hours left to listen to… not much you know?

I have also picked up and read more Fire and Blood, also by George R. R. Martin, this week. I’m now over halfway through this epic tome as well and I’m really enjoying getting into the history of Westeros and Essos. Naturally, I haven’t gotten through as much of this as I have audiobook progress, based on the fact that I wasn’t sat on my backside for the past week! Still, I’m going to keep making progress with this and I’m hoping to finish this shortly now that there is less time pressure on my knitting projects.

 

Books Discovered

I’m pleased to say that there are no new additions to this section this week. As you can probably tell I have been busy with other things, which is no bad thing. What I can’t promise, however, is that there will be nothing in this section next week. The Isle of Man officially comes out of lockdown tomorrow and a certain local branch of a bookshop chain will be opening. I will be going back to work nearby… I’m just intending to just have a mooch but I make no promises!

 

Coming Up…

I plan to share a book review for moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch midweek. To date I have read (listened to) over half of the series and so I’m keen to start getting my thoughts down on those I have listened to so far before I get too close to the end of the series. I recently reviewed Rivers of London and this review is for sequel to that novel.

Later in the week, I will be finding another feature for this week’s First Lines Friday post. I really enjoy delving through my bookshelves to find interesting books to feature for you here and whilst I haven’t decided what this week’s book is going to be, I have no doubt that it will be a good one! I hope you can join me for that!

 

That’s all I have for you in today’s Sunday Summary post. What are you reading?

 

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Sunday Summary – 11th April 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. As always, I hope you’ve had a really good week and I’m glad you can join me for today’s update. I have been keeping busy over here and I’m looking forward to telling you what I’ve been up to this week!

I started the week by sharing my Monthly Wrap Up post for March. When I drafted last week’s Sunday Summary post I completely omitted to mention that this was coming up. I published this on Monday so if you haven’t checked it out already, please do!

My next post of the week was a book review for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson. If you haven’t already gathered I am a huge fan of this author and this series. I would love it if you could go and check out that post as well!

On Friday I was supposed to share my next Shelf Control feature post. However, I ended up working late on Friday as I am off work next week. By the time I got round to doing this… well, I wasn’t in the mood. I decided I was better off giving myself the break I needed and the feature post will be shared next week instead.

 

Books Read

This week I have been reading more of Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin. This week’s reading progress hasn’t been comparable to last. I took this to bed one night and have made some okay progress, so won’t won’t knock it. I also plan on taking it to bed tonight to continue. As of the current update I am now nearly 60% of the way through the book. I’m really enjoying having another way of getting into the Game of Thrones series. Being off work next week, I am hoping to be able to spend more time on reading this.

It is probably fair to say that I did better with listening to A Clash of Kings, also by George R. R. Martin. If you needed any testament to the fact that I love this particular author and series, well I don’t think you should by now. This is my first listen to this series – I have always read them previously either in e-reader format or more recently in paperback. I listened to around three hours worth of audiobook this week. That might not sound like too much, but for someone who reads more than listens to books I have no complaints! Again, with being off work next week I imagine I will be able to make more progress on this again.

 

Books Discovered

Aside from reading this week, I have been keeping myself busy with catching up on watching For Life – A TV series based on the real life of Isaac Wright Jr. I started watching this little while ago, but my parents recently surpassed where I have gotten up to and so I wanted to catch up so we can talk about it. So, on the one hand, I have been busy watching this and so not really finding any books. However, after finishing the first series I did have a look to see if I could find a book based on the true story and sadly, I wasn’t able to. So, it’s not for lack of looking that I haven’t added any more books to my TBR this week! I will just have to keep a look out for the upcoming second series of the TV show to indulge in instead!

 

Coming Up…

I read a really fun book tag post recently and I’ve decided that I would like to take part and offer my own answers to the same questions. The book tag post that I saw and read can be found on Kristin Kraves Books. I think this will be a fun post to write and I can’t wait to share my answers with you all!

Later in the week I will be bringing to you the Shelf Control post that was supposed to go live this Friday! As a reminder, this week’s featured book is a science fiction young adult novel – one whose plot is based around class division in an unequal society. I added the book to my list a few years ago now and having just read a sample, I am looking forward to sharing the details with you! I hope you can join me for that post on Friday.

And last, but certainly not least, I will be rounding off the week with another Sunday Summary post next Sunday.

That’s all I have for you today folks! I hope you have enjoyed today’s post. What have you been reading?

 

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Book Review: The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Today’s book review for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson is one I am excited to share! You may already be aware that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I have read and started a number of different series written by him and honestly, I’ve loved them all. They are all completely different, with a vague commonality in that they have their own really unique magic systems. The Mistborn series is the one I have read the most of and these books were my introduction to the author. To date, the series consists of an initial trilogy and there are a further three books published in a later timeline. I am excited as there is an expected fourth book to this later series… but I’m also sad as I’ve caught up and I now have to wait for it to be published!

In the grand scheme of things it’s a small problem – and I’m willing to wait for the next instalment as it’s a fantastic series. Before jumping into today’s review of The Bands of Mourning, please go and check out my reviews for The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. These two books precede this third book of the later series.

 

The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Bands of Mourning

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

 

My Thoughts…

The second Mistborn series continues with The Bands of Mourning and we are treated once again to an interesting and action-packed plotline, hilarious characters with a great dynamic and even a flashback to the original Mistborn series. As in the previous books, I am really enjoying the mash-up of an industrial revolution int the middle of a Western civilisation setting. That’s one combo I don’t think I have ever read to date and honestly, it really works! Don’t ask me how… I’m not sure that it should and yet it really does and I’m in love with it!

As always, the dynamic between Waxililam and Wayne makes the book. They are absolutely brilliant together despite being like chalk and cheese in personalities. So now, they work really well together and I just love them. There’s nothing more I can say other than they are probably one of my favourite character duos ever! Wax is a brilliant character for his upstanding moral nature. As characters go, he’s pretty altruistic. Not perfect, to say the least, but not for a lack of trying.

Wayne on the other hand is far more of a loose cannon. His ‘trading’ habit (stealing but leaving something in return – often dross) and ability to blend into a crowd come in very useful to the team… but he’s less than honest. He has good intentions for the most part and he is fiercely loyal to Wax, which makes him quite a loveable rogue.

It’s a good job our characters thrive on chaos, because there is plenty of it in their world! Where Wax and Wayne go with the flow, Steris thrives off trying to bring order to the chaos. I must admit I didn’t think too much of her when she was first introduced in The Alloy of Law.  But, I have warmed to her a lot. She’s a great compliment to Wax as well. I’m not big on couples and relationships in books, but they work well together!

I was excited by this second Mistborn series as it expanded on the magic system from the first; instead of being able to use magical power relating to one metal, the book introduced individuals who have the power to use two. What really sold me on this instalment of the series is that a third element was introduced. Whereas previously an individual has to consume metal in order to wield their specific powers, this book introduces the concept of powers being held externally via relics and able to be used by anyone!

I love that Brandon Sanderson isn’t afraid to explore new options in his worlds. Whilst he is very good at creating a consistent setting and building a detailed plot and magic system, I love that he is able to branch out and make a success of re-writing the rulebook, so to speak. So far in this series it has worked very well and makes the novels very interesting to read and invest into. But, it also reassures us as readers that there is a lot more that we can expect!

I really enjoyed how events of this book concluded. Without giving any spoilers, a certain character from the first series that has a presence in this book. It’s been that long since I read the first series that I had completely forgotten about this character! It made for an interesting twist to the plotline and I’m glad they were included. Suffice to say, I’m excited to see where the next book of the series takes us. Sadly, I have to wait for it to be published as I’m now caught up with the series… but at least it’s not over yet!

 

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Sunday Summary – 4th April 2021

Unlike last week’s Sunday Summary update post, today’s is being posted on time! I hope you have all had a good week and an enjoyable Easter weekend?

I’ve certainly been making the most of the weekend by catching up with some jobs that for various reasons I’ve been putting off. Our local amenity site has been shut due to the current coronavirus lockdown, however, they reopened earlier this week (with restrictions). It meant that I could get out and get the first grass cut done and tidy up my garden.

I also decided to move around some furniture to make way for some new flatpack I bought for the spare room. It probably doesn’t sound too bad when I phrase it that way. I’ll spare you the details of my hour and a bit struggle, but after doing both of these physical jobs I’m certainly feeling it now!

That’s not to say that my week has been all hard work though. I have spent more time recently out in the garden enjoying some sunshine – and getting more reading done than I have done in previous weeks. I spent about four hours out in the garden yesterday in all, but the last hour and twenty minutes or so was spent sat on the decking with a cup of coffee and my current read. Now that finer weather is coming (hopefully more long-term), I’m looking forward to being able to make the most of my outdoor space a bit more this year.

In terms of blogging, I have shared a couple of posts with you this week. My first post of the week was a really fun one to write! Whilst the topic proved a little more difficult than I expected, I still managed to come up with ten places in books I would love to live. Granted, some of them have the caveat that I wouldn’t like to live there at the time of the events of the book. But still, I have some great featured locations on that list! If you haven’t checked out that post already there is a link above so you can do so.

My second post of the week was a First Lines Friday regular feature post. This week’s feature is a little unusual in that I have chosen it from a genre that I don’t read very often at all. However, I have read the book on a couple of occasions previously and I love the humour. I think a lot of working women can relate to our main character and the scenario in the opening lines may be one you are familiar with in some sense.

 

Books Read

If my progress update on Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin on Goodreads was accurate before I picked it up again, then I have read around 200 pages of this book this week. I haven’t picked it up for several weeks now; it’s huge… and partway through reading this I decided I needed a smaller book to pick up. However, I’m back from my break and it is safe to say that I have thrown myself back in. Fortunately (or sadly, depending on your opinion) I have a reasonable knowledge of the history of the realm from the main series. So, getting back into the tale didn’t take long and I was able to pick up where I left off quite easily.

I’ve enjoyed getting back into George R. R. Martin’s writing style and the detailed narrative. I’m planning on seeing Fire and Blood through to the finish now with no more breaks. I seem to have got my mojo back a bit more with reading and I would like to make a good amount of progress again next week. I don’t want to jinx it, but as long as I pick it up at least a couple of evenings I’ll be happy!

 

Books Discovered

I am glad to say there is nothing to add here this week. I think the world and his brother knows at this point that I have more books on my to be read pile than I know what to do with. Whilst I’m sure that I will never get this list down to 0, like ever, that doesn’t mean I can’t try and attempt to control it.

Who am I kidding?

 

Coming Up…

I have another book review lined up for you for this week and it’s from one of my favourite authors. Those of you who follow my blog may remember that I went through a phase of reading the ‘second series’ of the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson last year. I love them and to date, I have reviewed The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. I plan to complete my reviews and share my thoughts on the third book, The Bands of Mourning, this week. If you are as much of a fan of Brandon Sanderson as I am then I hope you can check out my thoughts – and let me know what you think of the book as well!

Later in the week, it is the turn of my Shelf Control feature post. This coming week‘s featured novel is a science fiction young adult book – one whose plot is based around class division in an unequal society. I added the book to my list a few years ago now and having just read a sample, I am looking forward to sharing the details with you! I hope you can join me for that post on Friday.

As always, I’ll be rounding up the week with another Sunday Summary post.

 

For now, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary update. I hope you enjoy the rest of your Easter weekend, have a good week in general and I look forward to seeing you around soon!

 

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Sunday Summary – 28th March 2021

Good evening everybody, and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary update post. As always, I hope you have had a good week whatever you have been up to! This week has seen some exciting behind-the-scenes changes here at Reviewsfeed. It may not sound like much, but I have made the switch from blogging on a laptop to a mobile device. I fully accept that this may not sound like much of a change to you, but it’s improved my experience of blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved and enjoyed blogging before. However, I will admit writing blog posts was becoming a bit of a chore on my old laptop. It was getting to the point where I would almost dread having to turn it on and waste time trying to get it done; it either wouldn’t boot up properly, or it would be very slow and unresponsive.

Whilst I’m hoping that you as the end reader haven’t noticed a difference, I can personally say that blogging has just become a whole lot easier for me. I’m hoping that comes across over time with more blog posts and fingers crossed, better quality ones to!

I’m happy with what I’ve achieved this week. I have been reading more and I have shared several blog posts this week. Dare I say it, but it felt like the good old days of last year! Yes, I am taking more of a relaxed approach to blogging and having a reduced schedule compared to previous years. That said, circumstances meant that I’ve shared more post this week than normal. And you know what? I’ve enjoyed it!

My first blog post this week was an audiobook review for Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. As you can probably tell from that review (and the fact that I binge-read over half of the series within a matter of months), I enjoyed the book! If you haven’t heard of it or are interested in hearing my views please go and check out that review.

My second blog post of the week saw a continuation of my Shelf Control series. In sharing this week’s featured book I took a couple of books off my TBR pile. Whilst I don’t doubt that I might have enjoyed the books that I removed to some extent, I had my reservations as to whether they would be books that I love. I’m at that point where I have so many books on my list that even anything that strikes me as mediocre or something that I will only enjoy partially can go. If I don’t think I’m going to love it, what’s the point? So, after those two removals, I came to this week’s featured book which is The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle.

I’ve also shared a blog post on Sunday. I phrase it such as I’m sharing today’s Sunday Summary post at one minute past midnight on Monday so as not to conflict with that post. It has been quite a while since I took part in a blog tour and it isn’t all that common for me to share a promotional post. That will be more commonplace this year as I am focusing on reading books that have been on my TBR for some time. I might make the odd exception here and there depending on whether a book is by an author I have featured before. But for the most part, any blog tour posts will be promotional. Sunday’s promotional blog tour post was for a book called Old Cases, New Colours by Madalyn Morgan. In that post, I have shared an extract of the book and if I do say so myself, I enjoyed reading it as I was drafting the post. If you haven’t checked that out already, please do!

Books Read

When it comes to reading I feel more like my old self this week. I’ve been making odd bits of progress here and there with The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, but nothing noteworthy for several weeks. As of last week’s Sunday Summary update I was around halfway through the book and with a promise to take the book to bed with me to read further before bed.

I’m pleased to say that since this last update, I have very nearly finished the book! Yes, I have read nearly half of it over the last week I have just half an hour’s reading time left; you can guarantee that I will be finishing this tonight. I’m quite proud that I’ve done so well this week. It feels like a long time since I’ve made that amount of progress in a short time. Bear in mind that the book weighs in at around 550 pages, so that’s over 250 (by the time I’m finished tonight) in one week alone. Granted, my read of both the Harry Potter books this year probably roughly equates to this in terms of page count, however, The Book Thief is a lot heavier in subject matter.

I have also listened to a few more chapters of A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin this week. I have taken to listening to this on an Amazon device in my living room either during lunchtime or after work. One evening, I also listened to a few chapters as well. Whilst it is nowhere near the progress of The Book Thief, I’m of the opinion that every chapter counts and so long as I am enjoying myself and the book in question then who can complain?

 

Books Discovered

Much as in the previous updates in my Sunday Summary posts, I have been keeping myself busy with my current reading and as such, not discovering anything new to add to my TBR. As I mentioned above, I have taken a couple of books off my list this week. I’m not even going to pretend that the decision makes my TBR more manageable – in reality those two books removed are just a drop in a very vast ocean!

 

Coming Up…

I like the sound of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, which is Places in Books I Would Like to Live. Now I know how I love to go on about a Game of Thrones, but you can guarantee that Westeros (or Essos for that matter) is not featuring on that list anytime soon! All joking aside, I think I would like to take part in this week’s post and so you can expect to see this published on my blog in the next couple of days!

This week’s regular Friday feature will be another First Lines Friday post. I enjoyed featuring Nevernight by Jay Kristoff a couple of weeks ago and I’m looking forward to delving through my bookshelves to find an equally exciting introduction to share with you for this week’s instalment.

Then last, but not least, I will be back again next Sunday with another Sunday Summary update – and this one will be shared as expected… on Sunday!

But for now, that’s all from me! Have a great week and I hope to see you around on the blog again soon!

 

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Audiobook Review: Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Before I even took the plunge with listening to Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, I had looked at the book previously and decided against reading it; it’s more of an urban fantasy as opposed to my preference of an epic fantasy. When it comes to audiobooks I am definitely more flexible on genre then I am regarding physical books. Don’t ask me why – maybe it is the different medium that makes it easier for me to listen to? I don’t know, but anyway I’m glad to say how wrong I was about passing up reading this book at first!

The fact that I went on to ‘read’ the next four books of the series in a three month period should tell you a lot! I’ve only really given it a rest so that I could enjoy listening to some different books for a change and so I haven’t caught up with the series. Then I’d be left waiting too long for the next instalment… and that just won’t do!

Would you like to find out more details about the book?

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Rivers of London

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

 

My Thoughts…

Not reading or listening to Rivers of London would have been a huge mistake. To try to encapsulate the book in one sentence, I would summarise it like this – the plot is interesting and easy to invest into, the characters are frankly hilarious and the narrative style of the book makes sure you never want to put it down! That’s a big sentence and full of praise but I can assure you that it is justified.

My favourite aspect of the novel has to be Peter Grant’s character. As I have said he is absolutely hilarious; I get on with his sarcastic wit – typical British humour – and his eye for detail. Through his perspective we get a lot of information and description of the city of London as Ben Aaronovitch has sculpted it. From the foundations of London as we know he has built a whole new city within London. Magic and history of the magical and mysterious who dwell the municipality are chronicled and shared in captivating detail. Those who know me know that this is a big plus for me – the more detail the better in my eyes! What’s also relevant is that the information is relevant to the story. It doesn’t feel like it’s been added as filler and given that there is a mystery element to the book you never know which parts actually becomes relevant until later so you pay attention to it all. For that reason I’m always looking at those details to try and fit them into the wider picture.

One of the other things I love about Peter Grant’s character, and the wider book in general, is that his character ticks box for multicultural inclusion… without actually making a point of being a multicultural inclusive book. Now hear me out, I know that might sound a little bit contradictory. I love that this book isn’t a typical British magical realism with white race characters dominating the scene laced throughout. I think sometimes being ‘British’ can be inadvertently stereotyped as that. However, more so than ever Britain is far more multicultural and Peter’s family history being diverse, but not heavily made a point of makes our character feel far more relevant in the modern world. I love that it doesn’t scream its inclusion of multiple ethnic groups from the rooftops as if it’s a huge thing – because while to an extent it is, the fact is it shouldn’t be! It’s perfectly commonplace. I personally think Ben Aaronovitch got the tone just right with this one. Are some of the characters stereotypical in their writing? Undoubtedly. Other people may disagree with me, but I enjoyed how they are written into the book.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to also comment on the narration. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith narrates rivers of London (and the rest of the series I have listened to to date – again a big plus in my opinion) and I think he does an excellent job of bringing the character of Peter Grant to life and telling the story through his eyes. As a character I think Peter is quite expressive and Kobna does a very good job of portraying this. I don’t know how to put it into words other than to say that he doesn’t just read what’s in front of him. In my days of studying performing arts we would call it ‘getting into the character’… and Kobna has definitely done this!

Last, but certainly not least, it is clear from the narrative and events from the book that the author has a detailed knowledge of London and a vivid imagination in building the events of the book into the city. It isn’t so much that the setting of the events is a coincidence; London is built into the heart and soul of the story – it just wouldn’t be the same anywhere else! That definitely shows. No landmark is too big and no sidestreet too small to have escaped the notice of Ben Aaronovitch; each winding alley has its history carved into the book. I am not going to pretend that I know London well – truth is I’ve only visited briefly twice. That being said, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book at all. I don’t think it matters if you know the geography of the city because ultimately that’s not the point. It’s how this comes together with the story of Rivers of London to create a fun, quirky urban fantasy novel that paves the way for a fantastic series! Does it help? Quite possibly, but equally it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

 

So perhaps now you see why I binged the next four books of the series within three months after listening to Rivers of London. If you haven’t read it yet, or question whether it might be your cup of tea I ask you to throw your misconceptions out the window. I am certainly glad I did!

 

 

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