Tag: fantasy

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 12th May 2019

The weekend has come and gone in a flash, as it always does anyway! How are we all friends? Did you have a good one?

I’ve done surprisingly well in terms of the amount of reading I have done, but more on that later. In addition to that, I have also attempted to write a few thoughts down about my recent re-read of A Clash of Kings. Let’s face it, what can I possibly say to such an epic? I tried, I really did! I had more success in reviewing my TBR on Friday – far less pressure on that post. I may only have removed one book from the list, but I’ve psyched myself up for reading the rest!

 

Books Read

I made light work of The Drawing of the Three after last week’s post! I left it too long between picking up books, but I can assure you it won’t be too long until I pick up number three. I found the second book a little easier to read than the first. Maybe having got the first under my belt made a difference.

I promptly moved on to Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire. I am taking part in a blog tour for the book tomorrow and I wanted to get this read in good time. I finished reading the book yesterday and have started my post. Finishing it for tomorrow is my job after this post goes live!

Since last night, I have read half of Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. I’m not quite sure how I have managed to read so much so quickly, but I have! I’m reading Seventh Decimate ahead of taking on The War Within, book two, next month. That has a lot more pages, so I won’t be so quick getting through that book!

As usual, I’ve been plodding through my latest audiobook, The Painted Man by Peter Brett. The beginning felt a little repetitive, but it’s picked up somewhat in the past couple of days. I can’t wait to see how the characters come together, if at all.

 

Books Discovered

I was quite lucky this week because I received an email from Amazon about a book I’m interested in being on sale. Admittedly, it’s a way down the line since I am only on book four of the series now. Might as well take advantage of the sale though, right? That’s what I told myself anyway!

 

Coming Up…

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m taking part in a blog tour post for Son of the Moon – tomorrow. I need to get on and finish drafting that pretty damn quickly!

After that, my next post is planned for Thursday. As part of Throwback Thursday, I’ll be looking back at a book or series I have read previously and want to feature on my blog! I hope you can join me for that!

So, that’s all from me in this Sunday Summary! What have you been reading?

signature

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 5th May 2019

I’m writing today’s Sunday Summary post with headphones in – again! Things haven’t been all that bad here for about two weeks now, but there have been bad periods tonight and it’s honestly ridiculous. As a rule, I work best in relative quiet, but I am genuinely resorting to choosing my own noise over that of my neighbour’s TV. Otherwise, I’ve had a mediocre week but great weekend. The first week back at work is never fun; however, my sister is visiting this weekend. At least I’ve had that to look forward to!

I’ve also started a busy reading month ahead of me. Inspired by my recent time off, I’ve got the urge to read lots of books so I’m pushing the boundaries a little. If you want to take a look at the books on my list this month, I’ve published my reading list and you can find it here. A little later in the week I published my review of Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares, as well as reminisced a little over the early days… good times.

 

Books Read

I began the week where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post with Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. I was aiming to get this finished by Monday at the latest, but I actually finished it on Tuesday in the early evening. Without hesitation, I quickly picked up my first book from this month’s TBR, The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King. I’ve been making steady progress throughout the week and I’m at 80%. I’ll be reading more tonight and fingers crossed, I’ll have it finished by tomorrow. I said that last week too, but I’m more hopeful this time!

I also finished the novella about the history of Lock In, so I’ve started a new audiobook. The Painted Man by Peter Brett is a little different from the books I have listened to previously. It’s narrated really well and I have gotten into it quite quickly!

 

Books Discovered

Not so much discovered, but I treated myself to paperback copies of A Storm of Swords: Part 2 and A Feast for Crows after payday.

 

Coming Up…

What’s coming up on the blog next week? When I type this, or something similar, the thought that follows is “good question”. It’s rare that I’ve planned so far ahead that I know this point before I start writing this section.

I think I am going to tackle another review early this week because I have a few to catch up on. Whilst we fans are all in Game of Thrones fever, I’m thinking to review A Clash of Kings.

Later in the week, I’d like to take another look at the TBR and whittle it down. Removing the books I am no longer interested in will make it appear a little more manageable… until I add a ton more books at least!

What are you up to this week? What books are you reading?

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review: Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares – Shaun Hume

***I have been provided with a copy of this book by the author for the purpose of providing an honest review. All opinions stated are my own***

My review of Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares feels a little overdue, but I have been looking forward to writing this post! The timing of the post is actually quite interesting. I have recently had my two year blog anniversary and I have been thinking back a lot to those early days. One of the earliest book reviews I posted was for the first book of Shaun Hume’s fantasy series, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. Incidentally, my review today is two weeks shy of the two year anniversary of that post! A strange part of me feels like we have grown together…

 

Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares

 

Goodreads – Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares

When Ewan Pendle began his second training year at Firedrake Lyceum, he thought it might at least be easier than the first. Now that he knew he was a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who alone can see the real Creatures which inhabit the earth, he hoped things would maybe go a little downhill from here … How wrong he was.

Ewan is summoned by Alice Blazely, the would be assassin who he and his friends Mathilde and Enid helped capture last year, the cunning woman using her final wish after being sentenced to death for her crimes to request a private meeting with Ewan. Alone together in a deep and dank cell, Alice reveals a secret which could turn Ewan’s world upside down – again. Does she hold the answer to deciphering Ewan’s disturbing reoccurring dreams? Can he ever trust the woman who wanted to see him dead?

As if a shocking revelation from a new foe wasn’t enough to handle, Ewan must also tackle a sea monster in the Thames, deal with the evil Rosethorn twins, come face to face with a shadow troll in a London alleyway and bargain with a crafty dragon, and attempt to find a treasure lost for over a thousand years …

As the summer ends, Ewan’s year long initiation into the world of creatures and the Lenitnes is finally over. But it’s then when monsters of all shapes and sizes really do start leaping, clawing and flying at him thick and fast!

 

My Thoughts…

Ewan Pendle, his friends and the fantasy world he lives in has come on leaps and bounds since the first book. Where Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith lays the foundations of the series, this next book builds upon the established world in ways that I never could have imagined. Character relations are becoming more complex and I’m starting to feel a wider plot developing. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

The writing and narrative style of this second instalment of Ewan Pendle’s adventures has improved from the first book, in my opinion. I think having invested the time in setting everything up in the first book; the action and characters have more opportunity to shine through now, and they DO! I really love the additional world-building, such as the history of Firedrake Lyceum, being incorporated into the narrative in a clever way. Chapters are nice and concise as well, which makes for easy reading.

Ewan and friends, in their highly adventurous (and slightly, enjoyably reckless) way, risk their lives to locate a castle seen only through Ewan’s dreams/nightmares. Once Ewan’s connection to these dreams becomes apparent he must do everything he can to prevent the living nightmare. Ewan, by nature, is an introverted character. He can really come out of his shell when he needs to though. The depth of emotion he has makes him feel really real, and as someone who can relate to him really well, it makes me root for him all the more!

I can’t help but feel that this series will keep on giving. Each book is paced really well. They drive the story forward in a way that unveils new secrets and challenges as existing ones are resolved. I have said it before and I’ll say it again… I cannot wait to see what happens next! There are developments within this book that I didn’t see coming at all; I’m expecting a lot of surprises to come.

 

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 28th April 2019

This week has been one of the best this year, by far! I’ve had a much-deserved break from work to relax, catch up on some sleep… and read plenty of books! Apparently, the break was needed too. An eagle-eyed reader of last week’s post may have noticed I managed to get the date very, very wrong – a month wrong, in fact. Well done if you spotted it – if you didn’t it’s too late now because I’ve corrected that grievous error…

I’ve not been sleeping well lately thanks to an inconsiderate night-owl neighbour. Not to jinx it, but things have been alright this week, so fingers crossed my complaints have finally made an impact!

 

Although I had more time on my hands this week, the blog schedule remained as usual. My focus was on the reading side, so I have stuck to my three posts. My first blog post of the week landed on Wednesday and I decided to resurrect my “Quintessential Quotes” post. I last made one last year and this time, I wanted to take a look at another fantasy author I am fast becoming a huge fan of – Brandon Sanderson. The particular book I decided to feature was “The Way of Kings”. On Friday I took part in my last blog tour of the month for Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

 

Books Read

I’ve had such a productive week in reading terms. It’s not very often that I manage to get through so much simply because I’m out at work! Now I understand how some people can get through so many books in a week. I was talking to my parents about how much I have been reading on Friday and my mum joked that I will probably die surrounded by books and cats. Suffocation by TBR doesn’t sound like the worst way to go…

Following on from last week, I ended up reading Justice Gone and The Watcher of Dead time pretty much side by side. It’s not very often I do this, but it felt right. Reading one and then the other worked because it enabled me to take a break from each when I needed to, but I was able to keep up the momentum. The narratives and genres are completely different, which helps. I can’t read anything to similar at the same time but that wasn’t a problem here at all.

In the last couple of days, I picked up the last book of the TBR for April, Maskerade by Terry Pratchett. His books are always a great laugh and quite easy to read. I’m two-thirds of the way through currently and I expect I’ll have it finished by tomorrow at the latest. Who knows, for the first time in a long while (if not ever) I might actually get to start a monthly TBR early!

I may have been at home most of the week, but I did have a couple of trips out in the car. I have finished the main storyline of Lock In and I am now listening to the novella also included in the audiobook that tells us the history of Haden’s syndrome.

 

Books Discovered

In addition to being off work this week, payday rolled around (finally)! So, yes, I treated myself to a couple of books. One of these I needed pretty much straight away, since my library don’t have this one in their e-book library. The second book is one that I could have borrowed from them, but I have bought the first three books already. I have just watched Season 3 of The Last Kingdom and it’s reminded me that I really need to pick up the next book. Sword Song is book four of the series and I expect I’ll be picking it up really soon!

 

Coming Up…

It’s that time of the month when I am thinking about my next TBR. I am really excited about it, because having been off and had a taste of the luxury of time; I want to read all the books! I have so many in mind I fear I won’t get around to them all. I’m either going to have to reluctantly postpone one or two or really pull my finger out to dedicate every spare moment I have to the cause. I’m yet to decide, but I’ll let you know in my reading list post!

A little later in the week, I’m going to be writing a book review that isn’t for a blog tour! It’s been so long since I’ve done one and I now have a bit of a backlist. Usually, I refer to Goodreads, but because I have done so many tours a few books still to review are quite far down the list now. To be sure I don’t forget them, I’ve started a list on my phone to be sure nothing is forgotten! Since I have been reading Shaun Hume’s book for so long (and I got the chance to put all my feedback together whilst I have been off work – another win!) it’s time I finally committed to a review.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

A Reader to Whatever End – This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) – Book Review

Book Bosomed Blonde – Experimental Star Ratings

Two Turn the Page Book Reviews – #bookreview – Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Jennifer Tar Heel Reader – Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Jack’s Bedtime Reading – My Favourite Fantasy Worlds

You probably hate me now for all this talk of time off work (lucky bitch), and fair enough! Just remember that I have to go back tomorrow and I am very acutely aware of this fact. I’m not looking forward to it! Reading the antics of Terry Pratchett’s creations had best keep me sane…

 

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 14th April 2019

Hi friends! Back again with another post today! Two posts in one day? Am I feeling alright? Yes, yes I am. It’s been a busy weekend and I’m looking forward to summarising the week’s shenanigans for you.

So, just what have I been up to? This week has been dominated by blog tour posts. I have signed up to four tours this month and these two came along in quick succession! I have a week’s respite before the next two come in thick and fast. On Thursday I published my review of Arbitrage by Collette Kebell – a financial crime novel that managed to teach me something about my own job industry. Fancy that! Then, earlier today, I posted my review of Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire. I started her series back in January with The Road to Alexander and I am already looking forward to the next two books I’m scheduled to review.

 

Books Read

I feel like I’ve made some respectable progress on the reading front this week too. In addition to the usual reading, I have made a little progress on my copy of Copyediting and Proofreading for dummies and worked my way through some course material I have signed up to. I can’t remember if I have mentioned it before or not, but I guess now its official. I’m learning the tricks of the trade as a proofreader and copyeditor! I’m only looking at the proofreading side of things at the moment, but I’m really enjoying it!

Along those lines, one of the first books I started making progress on was Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares by Shaun Hume. This is a light proofread project, (in addition to reading for review).

My primary focus of the week was Legends of Persia, for what I hope are obvious reasons. I started reading the book last week ahead of the tour, but I read the majority of it this week. Okay, yesterday. I wasn’t procrastinating, I promise. Do you know what I mean if I say I knew I had it so under control that I wasn’t worried about leaving it a little late? Well, it worked out fine anyway.

In addition to Legends of Persia, I have also made a start on the next ARC on my list – Trust Me by K. J. McGillick. I’m already just shy of 40% through the book, so I have a good head start ready for my review post at the end of next week. We also have a long weekend, which I am TOTALLY looking forward to!

Now for audiobooks! Around midweek I finished listening to Scythe by Neal Shusterman. It is completely different from anything I have read or listened to before. My next audible credit arrives sometime this week (I think?), so I’ll be using it to buy Thunderhead. I might not listen to it straight away, but it’s firmly on my list!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been keeping my head in the sand this week, so nothing to report here!

 

Coming Up…

So, what can you expect on the blog this week then? On account of the bank holiday weekend giving me some extra time, I have time scheduled for four blog posts. Again, two of those have to be on Sunday, which has partly influenced my decision.

As we have had a couple of reviews already this week, I want to start next week on a lighter note. I’ve decided to share another Top Ten Tuesday post, as it’s been a while since I last did one of those. They’re really fun! On Friday, I want to take another look at the TBR and have a clear out of the books that I no longer want to read.

Early on Sunday, I’ll be posting my blog tour review of Trust Me, my current read. I’ll be following up at the end of the day with my usual summary!

What are you reading this week? Have any nice plans for the Easter weekend?

 

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 7th April 2019

Don’t the weekends just come and go so fast?! It only feels like 5 minutes ago since I was writing last week’s Sunday Summary post. I hope you have had a good week, whatever you have been up to!

Me? Well, mine has been quite a busy one. It’s rare for me to post four times a week, but that’s exactly what I have done! I published April’s reading list at the beginning of the week; I am taking part in a lot of blog tours, so the official list is dominated by ARC’s. As it happens, I am going to have more time on my hands than usual this month in terms of reading. I didn’t want to commit to reading more though, because I’ll probably balance my time with other little projects. Plus, I also have the freedom to pick up any book I like. Reading list posts are great motivators; I have proven I cannot do without them – but they can also feel a little restricting sometimes.

In addition, I have also published my review of The End of Magic by Mark Stay and a Q&A post with him. There is a chance to enter yourselves into a giveaway for a signed copy of the book, but you’ll have to be quick as it closes at 11:59 pm local time tonight.

 

Books Read

It’s been a pretty good week of reading here, which I’ll admit I am surprised about. I thought my blog post schedule might knock out some of my reading time, but I managed to work around it quite well! As promised, the first couple of days of this week were dedicated to finishing Arbitrage by Colette Kebell. I work in an industry that overlaps with the subject content of this novel, and I actually learned something new from it. Every day is a school day, right?

Next, I moved back to reading A Storm of Swords. I have been reading it for weeks now, just because it is so long. Guys… I did it! I have finished it! It was a long haul, but I got there in the end.

The advantage of reading really long, epic novels is that once you pick up a smaller book, you find yourself a third of the way through it without you even realising. That’s exactly what’s happened with my next read, Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire. I achieved that in one sitting too. I’m quite proud…

I’ve also kept up with listening to my latest audiobook, Scythe by Neal Schusterman. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with the comedown from Jay Kristoff’s Godsgrave, because damn that shit is fantastic! I am really enjoying Scythe as well though! It’s different, but that’s why I like it.

 

Books Discovered

 

I have not added any books to my TBR this week because I have been really good.

Who am I kidding?! Truth is, I’ve just been really busy – busy at work, personally, blogging, reading and playing Minecraft in my downtime, I haven’t been looking for new books. That’s an honest answer!

 

Coming Up…

I’m pleased to say things are going to slow down from the breakneck speed of last week. It’s fun, occasionally, but that’s not a blogging schedule I can keep up with reliably.

My blogging schedule is going to be thrown off a little bit as a result, because I have blog tours coming up on Sunday’s for the next couple of weeks. I’ll still be posting three times, but effectively I’ll be posting twice in one day – my review in the early morning and my Sunday Summary will drop in the late evening. Having a few days grace is going to work to my advantage because I have some catching up to do with a proofreading project.

My first review post is for Arbitrage, the ARC I finished up early this week. That post is being published on Thursday, so I hope you can check that out! My second review, on Sunday, is for my current read, Legends of Persia by Jennifer Macaire. What are you looking forward to next week? What will you be reading?

Author Interview: Mark Stay

Today’s blog post is going to be a little bit special; I will be handing over to Mark Stay very shortly so he can tell you about himself and his recently published fantasy novel, The End of Magic. I took the opportunity to share my thoughts in my review of the book yesterday. If you haven’t seen either my review or the opportunity to win yourself a signed copy of the book, please check out the link above and my Twitter/Instagram pages for two chances to enter! The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm on Sunday 7th, so don’t hang around to get your entries in!

And now, I’ll graciously hand over to Mark for a brilliantly funny Q&A: –

 

 

Tell us a little about yourself

Having failed at my childhood dream of becoming either a firefighter or Luke Skywalker, I tried writing stories, then sketches, then acting, and then started a theatre company with my wife. I wrote a few plays, turned some of them into screenplays, met a film director, made a movie with him called Robot Overlords and now I’m writing books again. I’m too old to be a firefighter, and Luke Skywalker is (spoiler alert) dead, but there’s still time for a Morgan Freeman-like late-blooming acting career! Oh, who am I kidding…

I co-present a podcast for writers called the Bestseller Experiment, and I worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years, then last Christmas they finally had enough of me and made me redundant. I now write for food.

Who/what are your inspirations and influences?

I’m an odd hodgepodge of British TV character comedy writers such as John Sullivan and Galton & Simpson, American writers like William Goldman and David Mamet, and fantasists like Harry Harrison, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s amazing anything I write makes any sense whatsoever, but over time more of the real me has seeped into the writing and I’m discovering that’s a good thing.

The End of Magic had some fun influences, including the Coen Brothers’ film Miller’s Crossing (when someone pleads for their life), The Good, The Bad and the Ugly for a dollop of redemption (when Tico asks his brother for help), Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters for showing me how to make my unsympathetic protagonist a little more tolerable (see below), and a dash of Grimdark and Pratchett.

It’s refreshing to read a fantasy tale about magic and it’s influence coming to an end as opposed to prevailing. Was this difficult to write? How did you go about it?

I had to ask myself what I could bring to the fantasy genre that thousands of white middle-age blokes hadn’t done before, which got me thinking about privilege. And who in fantasy are more privileged than the classic wizard-mentor types? They love to torment their apprentices and can be unbearably smug and superior, so I wanted to take that archetype and rob them of the thing that made them special and see how they coped. Badly, it turns out. It’s a fun way to make an unsympathetic character engaging. I remember watching the film adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s Headhunters and having a revelation. You just have to make their lives an utter misery. It’s very therapeutic and enjoyable for the reader.

Ending magic and its influence was a reaction to some of the magic systems I’ve come across in fantasy, where there are so many appendices and rules it’s like the instructions for a complicated board game. I decided I would be clever and do without magic… then I realised I would have to create a magic system in order to understand what happens when you take it away, so I ended up making even more work for myself.

I knew I couldn’t be too radical in the magic or the worldbuilding. It had to be a familiar kind of magic and a recognisable fantasy world in order for the reader to be engaged in its destruction. I was basically taking a hammer to a few old fantasy tropes. There’s nothing wrong with those tropes, I enjoy them as much as ever, but it simply helped keep the reader on the hook, and it doesn’t hurt to give the establishment a light kicking every now and then.

There are, I’m happy to say, no appendices in The End of Magic.

There are a huge variety of characters in the book. How were these characters developed? Do you feel you relate well to any of them, or perhaps they remind you of people you know?

There’s a lot of me in the protagonist Sander Bree, in that I had nothing to complain about in my life, but I still wasn’t content. I had a good job, a home, a wonderful family, but also tons of anxieties, and there seemed to be no reason for them. So I wanted to see how bad things could really get, if simply to remind myself that I have it very good compared to most.

Rosheen Katell is a freelance mage and she has a strict moral code. She’s me on a good day — what what I would aspire to be — and if anything I had to make her story even more challenging for her. It’s easy to take the moral high ground when you have power, but if that power is taken from you then you have some very difficult decisions to make. There’s one terrible act that she commits not long after losing her power and readers have told me it brought them to tears, which is the highest compliment you can give to a writer. Their sadness made me very, very happy (writers are terrible people, really).

And Oskar, her younger brother, is a mute and considered feeble-minded at the start of the story, but he gains all sorts of extraordinary powers as the novel progresses. I wanted to take someone who was voiceless and powerless and see what they would do with that power. His story fascinates me as he’s the most complicated of the three. The conclusion to his story has shocked a few people, and rightly so. In a way, Oskar is like some of the online trolls we encounter. They would be terrified of confrontation in the real world, but now they have the power of anonymity they can do terrible things, but they open themselves up to punishment that they’re simply not prepared for. Poor Oskar really gets put through the wringer.

The supporting characters are huge fun to write. They’re not burdened with the weight of the story and you play a little more freely with them, though there’s a danger they can overwhelm your protagonist. Oskar started out with a much smaller role, but over drafts he grew to have a much more significant role in the story. In some ways, the novel becomes more about him than anyone else.

The End of Magic suggests a conclusion – is this a standalone book, or can we expect a further series?

 

They say you should write the book you want to read, and I wanted to write a page-turning, fun and accessible stand-alone. I’m a bit done with trilogies and never-ending series in fantasy*, and the challenge was to tell a one-and-done and give the reader a satisfying read and let them get on with their lives. That said, I’ve had threats that if I don’t write a sequel there will be trouble. I’ll see what the demand is. The door is open for more, but you can definitely enjoy The End of Magic as a story with a beginning, middle and end.

*In the meantime, I’ve started a middle grade science fiction trilogy, and a World War Two fantasy series that might never end, proving that I’m nothing if not a massive hypocrite.

 

 

About the Author

 

Mark co-wrote Robot Overlords with director Jon Wright for Piers Tempest’s Tempo Productions. This was selected for the 58th BFI London Film Festival. Mark also wrote the film’s novelisation to critical acclaim.

Mark is also co-presenter of The Bestseller Experiment, which was shortlisted for the Futurebook Podcast of the Year award. The podcast began when he and Mark Desvaux challenged themselves to write, edit, publish and market a bestselling eBook in just a year… and then actually did it with their novel Back To Reality, which was a number one Kindle bestseller in ten categories worldwide.

Now in its third year, the podcast works to inspire their listeners to finish their novels and get them published, and their alumni includes Pernille Hughes, Lorna Cook, Sally Harris and fantasy author Mike Shackle.

Mark worked in bookselling and publishing for over 25 years and is a regular on the conventions circuit. The End of Magic is his debut fantasy novel.

Website: https://markstaywrites.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/markstay

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markstaywriter/

 

Reading List: April 2019

This month I have a LOT of blog tours. What can I say, I have no self-control when it comes to books! Ahaha!

Naturally, there are quite a few ARC’s on this list as a result of signing up to the tours. I am going to balance that with a couple of shorter, traditionally published books that I want to pick up and read of my own volition. By shorter, I basically mean I am going to take a break from reading George R. R. Martin’s epic 1000 page tomes! I love them, but I feel a real lack of progress reading them just because they are SO LONG!

Maybe I’ll start A Feast for Crows on a whim if I feel the urge, but it is not a part of my official reading list. I’m also not going to start it if doing so will compromise the reading schedule. That kinda sounds like famous last words to me somehow…

So, which books am I picking up this month?

 

Legends of Persia – Jennifer Macaire

When Ashley Riveraine jumped at the chance to travel back in time to meet her hero Alexander the Great, she never thought she would end up staying there…

Following Alexander the Great’s army on its journey across Persia, Ashley is walking the knife edge of history. As a presumed goddess, Ashley is expected to bless crops, make sure battles are won and somehow keep herself out of the history books.

Can Ashley avoid the wrath of the Time Institute while keeping the man she loves alive?

 

Having taken part in the blog tour for The Road to Alexander earlier this year, I think I practically snatched the hand off of Rachel @ Rachel’s Random Resources when she offered the second book in the series to review. Aside from Macaire’s writing, I haven’t really ventured into the time period of Alexander the Great. The slight crossover with science-fiction to include Ashley’s initial time travel and conflict of altering history isn’t invasive or out of place. It’s one of the aspects I enjoyed in The Road to Alexander the most! I’m looking forward to seeing where this second work of historical fiction leads us.

 

Trust Me – K. J. McGillick

Sex. Power. Murder.

Dr. Gabriel Blackwell and his wife Sandra Blake have it all. He’s a brilliant thoracic surgeon. She’s a high-powered attorney with family money. Their lives are as loving as they are glamorous.

Or are they?

When a nurse Dr. Blackwell works with is brutally murdered, the questions fly. Who would want to kill this woman and why? When an autopsy reveals the woman was pregnant, all signs point to Dr. Blackwell. Just what was her relationship with him?

Whispers about a scandalous sex club surface. How many other lovers are there? Are any of them safe? How far would he go to protect his reputation?

Tragedy strikes again as Sandra Blake is found dead floating in their pool. Dr. Blackwell now finds himself on trial for two murders. Facing life in prison, Dr. Blackwell will grasp at any straw to preserve his freedom.

Any straw.

Is anyone innocent? Is anyone safe?

 

I have taken part in blog tours for other books by K. J. McGillick in the last few months – Facing A Twisted Judgement and Karma Never Loses an Address. I really enjoyed both books, so I wanted to take this blog tour opportunity to try something else of hers. Crime fiction is something I enjoy reading quite a lot, so signing up was an easy decision.

 

Justice Gone – N. Lombari Jr

A beaten homeless vet. Three cops gunned down. A multistate manhunt. The trial of the decade.

A new kind of legal thriller

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

 

I can’t say I have ever read anything that focuses on or is influenced by the military very much. Justice Gone is a great way to bridge that gap as I know I will enjoy the legal thriller element of the novel. I decided to take this on as a means of branching out, to try something a little different. I really hope the risk pays off.

 

The Watcher of Dead Time – Edward Cox

Labrys Town, home to a million humans cut off from the rest of the universe, has been invaded. Those who protected it have been deposed.

The Relic Guild are scattered across the worlds of the Aelfir. Many of them are dead or dying. The Genii control everything. The war is almost over.

Clara, a young woman barely able to control her werewolf side, has seen her friends and mentors killed in front of her. She is the last hope for Labrys Town.

But someone else is watching…

The dramatic conclusion to the award-nominated fantasy trilogy which began with THE RELIC GUILD.

 

I am 100% reading this because I didn’t get around to it AT ALL last month. It’s disappointing, although not all that surprising either. Not only did I take on A Storm of Swords, which is over 1000 pages in its own right, I’ve also had some procrastination issues as a result of feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Reading long books is a double-edged sword – it’s a great achievement when you have enjoyed a book and finally get to the end… but it can be a real drag to get there.

I’ve also had plenty of lunches out, a slightly more active social life, and by stark comparison, I rediscovered my love of Minecraft. Each and every one of these things has eaten into my reading time. I’m going to have to get a handle on that.

 

Maskerade – Terry Pratchett

Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, the Discworld’s greatest witches, are back for an innocent night at the opera. Naturally there’s going to be trouble, but at the same time there’ll be a good evening’s entertainment with murders that you can really hum to.

 

After some heavy reading *cough cough* A Song of Ice and Fire series, I can always rely on some of Pratchett’s excellence and witty humour to lighten the tone. Maskerade is the next Discworld book on my list and it features the Witches. They are my favourite characters in the Discworld universe, so I can’t wait. Combine that with being a theatrical tale – a parody of Phantom of the Opera, and it sounds like a winner to me!

 

So, that’s the scripted reading list this month. Maybe I’ll pick up A Feast for Crows in between, but that depends on how well I progress.

What are you reading this month?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 31st March 2019

I spend every Sunday with my mum and dad (that’s if they aren’t away on holiday), but this was made all the more special as it’s Mother’s Day today! She was treated well by both my sister and I, have no doubt.

I was grateful to get out of the house. This weekend has been tough. I have alluded to a neighbour I have had trouble with previously, and some issues are re-surfacing. He is very, very deaf and I have already complained several times about the volume of his TV. I have spent most of the weekend with headphones in (not necessarily attached to my phone or playing music) just to block out the noise. I am playing something classical quietly just so I can concentrate.

I’m not just irrationally angry about the volume of his TV. There is far more to the situation than that, but it was the straw to break the camel’s back, so to speak. Needless to say, the landlord has got a very long, teary email explaining everything that has happened to read tomorrow morning. Numerous apologies for the outburst too, but I needed to vent. I pity the poor man…

Now, on a cheerier note, what have I managed to get up to in between pulling my hair out?

On Tuesday I took part in my second blog tour of the month – Psychotopia by R. N. Morris. In that post, I share my thoughts about the book, as well as provide links to a giveaway. The prize for the winner is a copy of the book, so if you haven’t already entered, please follow the link above to find out more!

The second post of the week was a Throwback Review to a book I read before I began my blog. Up until this week, I had only reviewed books I read and enjoyed. My review of The Darkness Comes Before isn’t of that ilk though. I explain why it wasn’t for me.

 

Books Read

I have spent the week doing my best to make as much progress as I can with two current reads – Arbitrage by Colette Kebell and A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. Last week I had barely started the former book, which I am reading for a blog tour next month. Now we stand at a much healthier 75% and I aim to finish this in the next day or two. Due to its length, A Storm of Swords has taken longer to tick up the percentage. Weighing in at around 230 pages, I am much happier with the 20% I have managed to read this week, compared to last week.

In addition to the reading, I have also finished listening to Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. I’m a little saddened that I have to wait for Darkdawn, but it won’t be long until that’s published! Instead, I have started listening to Scythe by Neal Shusterman.

 

Books Discovered

So today, my parents gave me a one of their little voucher stickers from the Monopoly event they are doing at the moment. You’re probably wondering why I’m even mentioning it here, unless you have gotten one yourself. This year friends, they are offering vouchers for Kindle books! My parents, knowing me all too well, handed it to me in case I wanted it.

The voucher entitles you to either 3 out of 10 titles, or alternatively 2 months of Kindle Unlimited subscription. Personally, I have never used Kindle Unlimited. I have a library card after all; I’ve never really felt the need to subscribe for it. Instead, I picked some of the titles on offer to keep.

 

Coming Up…

As if it is April tomorrow! I can’t believe it! As ever though, I’ll be commencing the month with my Reading List. This one is going to be a busy one as I have lots of blog tours coming up!

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a couple of posts later in the week. I have been working with Mark Stay, the author of The End of Magic to bring you a review of his book and an interview. I’m waiting for a final thumbs up to post these next week, but I’m optimistic this will go ahead.

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Darkness That Comes Before – R. Scott Bakker

If I don’t enjoy reading a book I generally won’t talk about it on my blog. I’m not adhering to that rule today though. I have briefly mentioned this book, and why I didn’t get on with it, in a few of my previous posts. I feel that a throwback review is a perfect time to elaborate and talk a little about why.

Whether it is “okay” to post negative reviews is a common topic of conversation in blogging circles. Ultimately, I think it comes down to personal preference and the circumstances in which you read a book. Obviously, if you are reading a book on request or for a blog tour and you don’t enjoy it, it can get pretty awkward. I know friends because I have been there. A word to the wise – ask to change your blog post if you can. It saves a lot of trouble in the long run…

I don’t mind talking about why The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker isn’t for me, as it is a book I picked up and read of my own volition. There are two ways to go about a “negative review” – first, you can say “To hell, my blog means my rules! I’ll say what I like!” That’s totally fine. You’re right. Why should you not say what you truly feel about something? So long as it isn’t offensive, that is.

I’m not really like that though. As I said, usually I don’t even bother talking about books I don’t like. Instead of saying that a book is bad, horribly written, or has boring characters, you can take a softer approach and explain why it wasn’t for you.

 

The Darkness That Comes Before

Goodreads – The Darkness That Comes Before

The first book in R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series creates a world from whole cloth-its language and classes of people, its cities, religions, mysteries, taboos, and rituals. It’s a world scarred by an apocalyptic past, evoking a time both two thousand years past and two thousand years into the future, as untold thousands gather for a crusade. Among them, two men and two women are ensnared by a mysterious traveler, Anasûrimbor Kellhus – part warrior, part philosopher, part sorcerous, charismatic presence – from lands long thought dead. The Darkness That Comes Before is a history of this great holy war, and like all histories, the survivors write its conclusion.

 

My Thoughts…

I think it fair to mention that whilst I don’t really rate this book, for reasons I’ll explain below, I did stick with reading it to the end. The largest factor in deciding whether I will read a book is the writing style or narrative voice. It was a perfectly readable book. The narrative wasn’t difficult to read as far as I remember.

Although I did manage to stick with reading The Darkness that Comes Before, I am certain that I won’t be continuing the series. When I picked it up, I didn’t expect the book to be so philosophical. The world development and discussion of the nations, countries, races and religion involved was very high-minded; very descriptive, but at the same time almost snobbish in its approach (sorry, but that’s how I feel). For that, it felt distant. When I like to delve into epic fantasy I like to feel involved with the characters and their plight. I’m no stranger to the genre; I have been reading it for years. Complicated plot lines only work if the reader can relate to each of the characters and their own character arcs.

In contrast, I had no means to be able to relate to the characters in this book. I recall one was a prostitute, but as to their names, I honestly couldn’t even guess. The best way I can describe my experience of the book is that it felt like I was watching a game of chess. The pieces have their roles and rules of moving around the board, but they lack any kind of personality or identity. All that you can do is watch the match play out to its conclusion. And I did. I won’t be staying for the second round though.

Having read other reviews, it seems to be quite hit and miss. Opinions are either at one polar end or the other. I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy this really. I like history, (of which there is a lot built in), descriptive worldbuilding and epic fantasy. Perhaps my expectations were too high.